3 choppers, 6,100 personnel rushed to douse Uttarakhand fire

116 rescuers from NDRF have also been deployed; Home Ministry says the situation is under control now

New Delhi: More than 6,100 personnel, three IAF choppers fitted with Bambi buckets to carry water have been deployed in Uttarakhand to douse the forest fire that engulfed a large part of the hill state.

An IAF chopper collects water from Koteshwar dam during the rescue operation to control fire in Uttarakhand yesterday. Pic/PTI
An IAF chopper collects water from Koteshwar dam during the rescue operation to control fire in Uttarakhand yesterday. Pic/PTI

As many as 6,000 personnel comprising NDRF, SDRF, state police, forest staff and volunteers have been deployed to douse the fire.

Three Indian Air Force helicopters (1 ALH and 2 Mi 17) with Bambi buckets and 116 rescuers of National Disaster Response Force were also deployed to help the state government. The situation is under control now, a Home Ministry spokesperson said yesterday.

A four-member Central team of experts, including Special Director Centre for Fire Explosives K C Wadha and director of Delhi Fire Services G C Misra have reached Uttarakhand to assess the situation and suggest possible remedies.

In view of the urgency of the matter, the team will submit its report to the Home Ministry within a week with its recommendations.

The three IAF choppers yesterday dumped loads of water on forest fires raging for days in Nainital and Pauri districts. Latest satellite imagery of the forest fires has reported that the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 per cent of the affected area in the hill state. The fire has killed seven persons and destroyed 2,269 hectares of forested land.

‘Taking forest fires very seriously’
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar yeste-rday said the Centre was taking the forest fires in Uttarakhand ‘very seriously’ and making all efforts to control it even as his ministry yesterday began trial runs for a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings via SMS. “Centre is taking the forest fires of Uttarakhand very seriously. 6,000 people have been deployed for fighting it. We also granted Rs 5 crore to the state.”

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