IAF battles forest blazes in Uttarakhand, 75 new fires reported

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Dehradun, Apr 6 (PTI) IAF helicopters doused forest fires at three places in Uttarakhand on Tuesday, even as more broke out at 75 new spots, destroying 105.85 hectares of green cover in the state, officials said.

The Indian Air Force's (IAF) MI-17 helicopters moved to the Kirti Nagar forest division of Tehri district to control the fires by spraying water collected from Shri Kot dam in buckets with a capacity of 5,000 litres, they said.

Forest fires were doused in Bariargadh and Sarkyana in Kirti Nagar range and Khirsu in Pauri district on Tuesday, Chief Conservator of Forest Garhwal S K Patnaik, under whose supervision the exercise was carried out, said.

The firefighting operation lasted three-and-a-half hours, he said.

However, in the Kumaon region, IAF helicopters could not be utilised as bad weather prevented them from taking off, the officials said.

Seventy-five new forest fires were reported from across the state in which 105.85 hectares of green cover was gutted, they said.

As many as 414 forest fires have been reported from Uttarakhand in April so far and 645.3 hectares of forests destroyed, they said.

Nainital, Almora, Tehri and Pauri districts are the worst hit by forest fires. PTI ALM DIV DIV