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Fire out in 70 per cent of affected areas in Uttarakhand

Last updated on: May 02, 2016 13:58 IST

Latest satellite images of Uttarakhand have reported that the forest fire has gone out in over 70 per cent of the affected areas, even as the National Disaster Response Force has deployed over 130 personnel to tackle the massive blaze.

IMAGE: The raging fire in the jungles of Uttarakhand has destroyed about 2,269 hectares of jungles in several districts and claimed at least seven lives till now. Photograph: PTI

“We have been informed that fresh images from satellite has shown that the effective area under fire in Uttarakhand has come down to 110-115 locations from the earlier about 427.

“It is expected that these figures will be brought down to 50-60 in the next few days by the combined forces fighting to douse the jungle fire,” NDRF Director General O P Singh said.

He said the images from the sky were taken on April 29-30 and this has now given hope to all the agencies combating the fire that it will be contained soon.

The director general said the NDRF men are also working to save animals who could have been trapped in the blazing fire.

A squad of over 135 personnel of this special force are deployed in Uttarakhand as part of multiple firefighting teams to combat the raging fire in the jungles of Uttarakhand that have destroyed about 2,269 hectares of jungles in several districts and claimed at least seven lives till now.

The NDRF teams have spread out in 13 affected areas of three districts of Pauri Garhwal, Almora and Chamoli with fire fighting equipment to tackle the massive blaze.

IMAGE: Villagers leave the jungle and head to safety after a fire breaks out. Photograph: PTI

“Our teams are working in 13 sectors in coordination with the officials and personnel of the state fire and forest department. The teams have been instructed to adopt the
conventional method of cutting the fire line and containing the fire.

“We are using fire beaters and green bushes to cut the fire from spreading. About 135 personnel as part of multiple teams are working in Uttarakhand at present,” Singh said.

He said in Chamoli the NDRF is working in Pakhi and Gopeshwar areas, while in Almora the teams are working in areas like Binsar, Someshwar, Bikisen, Siplakhet and Dhauladevi.

Each team is covering an area of 8-10 sq km, he said, adding, additional NDRF teams have been kept on standby at its camp in Ghaziabad.

The force also saved a house from getting engulfed in the fire in the hilly jungle area of Mehlchori in Pauri district in which a family of four members lived.

Singh said he is in constant touch with his team leaders working in the state.

‘Putting in their best efforts’

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that he was in regular touch with officials of Uttarakhand, adding the situation was under control.

“I am in regular tough with local officials and have also spoken to the Governor (K.K. Paul). I have discussed the fire issue with officials at the Centre and took stock of the situation there (in Uttarakhand) and directed officials on the measures that need to be taken,”he said.

Stating that he has been informed the situation is normal in the hill state, Rajnath added whether it is the Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force or the local administration all of them are putting their best efforts.

The home minister, who reviewed the situation on Sunday, has offered all assistance to the hill state.

He held discussions with the chief secretary and other officials of the Uttarakhand Government.

The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 percent of the affected area in the hill state.

Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said that the Centre was taking the matter “very seriously” and “have deployed 6,000 people”, including from the NDRF, for firefighting “with a grant of Rs. five crores to the state” for more manpower.

-- With inputs from ANI

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