Massive forest fires are raging in areas near the Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Katra. Air force choppers are being used to douse the flames.

The fire started in the Trikuta Hills of Reasi district last night. Chopper service to ferry pilgrims to the shrine was closed this morning as a precautionary measure. Choppers were shifted from the helipad in Katra to the Mata Vaishno Devi University campus that is far from the forest area.
Teams of the forest and fire services departments, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, officials of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and police are engaged in efforts to douse the fire, officials have said.

“We are hopeful that fire will be controlled in next few hours,” a senior official said.