The central government has deployed two Mi-17 helicopters to douse forest fires raging in Uttarakhand. More than 1,900 hectares of forestland have been affected by the fire in the Kumaon and Garhwal region.
“Two helicopters were sent by the Indian Air Force. One has been sent in Ghorakhal Sainik School and another one in Pauri, Srinagar. The specialty of the helicopter is that it can take 5,000 litre of water from any source of water, be it pond or river, and can drop it anywhere," Wing Commander VK Singh, operation in-charge, Airforce, said.
“Our mission is to carry water from Bhimtal to places where fire is burning. There is a huge area covering the flames. We will maintain a distance of 100 metre from the fire to douse the flames," he added.
Fire raged on Saturday even as three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in Almora, Gauchar and Pauri and one team of the State Disaster Response Fund in Nainital to extinguish the flames. Two Air Force helicopters have been dispatched to battle the blaze in Pauri and Nainital districts. Forest areas of Almora, Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag and Pithora districts have been badly affected by the fire.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Governor KK Paul on Saturday and assured him of providing all necessary assistance to control the fire. The Governor has directed all District Magistrates of the affected districts to make full use of available resources to douse the fire.
The Nainital High Court has also voiced concern and directed to control the fire in the shortest possible time. Some 922 incidents have occurred so far killing six people including three women and a child and blighting nearly 2,000 hectares of green cover since February this year.