Showers help contain fires in Uttarakhand, 2 more reported dead


A long awaited spell of showers lashed most parts of Uttarakhand on Wednesday, supplementing fire dousing operations across the state even as the toll in the blazing forest fires rose to nine.
Rains that started on Tuesday evening in the higher reaches of the mountains lashed the plains overnight, drenching forests and buttressing efforts of agencies engaged in a massive firefighting exercise. Over 11,000 personnel are at work on ground in the state.
Claiming that the forest fire situation state was well under control, chief secretary Shatrughna Singh said a total of 90 forest fires were sighted on Wednesday out of which 76 were immediately extinguished and the remaining 14 would soon be brought under control.
Officials said the three IAF choppers were not used on Wednesday for water sprinkling operations.
Two more deaths were reported from Nainital, taking the total number of people killed in fire related incidents across the state since February 2 to nine.
So far, almost all places in the state have received rain in varying degrees, including Tyuni, Utttarkashi, Purola, Munsyari, Chamoli and Joshimath, which has brought temperatures down by almost two degrees since Monday, said Vikram Singh, director of MeT department. He added that the downward trend will continue for a couple of days more.

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