With many parts of Uttarakhand experiencing rain on Thursday, the raging fires that threatened to consume the woodland in the state have quietened down.
The disaster mitigation and management centre (DMMC) has officially declared that no new forest fire incident occurred in the state, attributing the check in the blaze to the showers.
The hill state received rain since morning, bringing to government officials who were deeply concerned over the forest fire and its impact.
However, the state forest department official website on Thursday erroneously reported 116 fire incidents affecting 232 hectare of forest area.
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The website says Garhwal reported 87 incidents of fire on Thursday, in which 172 hectares were damaged, while 29 fires were reported in Kumaon, affecting 60 hectares. The website said the estimated revenue loss to the department was over Rs 2 lakh.
Head of forest force (HoFF) Rajinder Kumar Mahajan accepted that the information on the website was incorrect. “I have taken cognizance of the matter. They should have reported yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) incidents the same day instead of reporting them today,” he told HT.
The MeT department has predicted showers for at least four more days. Thus, the forest department is all set to utilise this time to make further arrangements to combat the fire.
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A team will stage street plays across various stations, sensitising people about forest fire. “We hope locals will understand our message and will help us in checking forest fire,” chief conservator of forest (publicity officer) Kapil Joshi said.
The department is also planning to provide boots, water bottles and medicines to the 11,000 fire fighters that are engaged in dousing the flames.
Nine people in the state have died due to the forest fires so far, with 17 injured. Forty eight people have been booked under the Indian Forest Act for deliberating starting fires in the forest.