Forest fires near Himachal Pradesh school spreads panic among students

Kasauli: Panic gripped Lawrence school in Sanawar near Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh yesterday, as fires raging in the adjoining forests advanced towards the school and students ran helter-skelter with columns of smoke descending on the school complex.

An inferno engulfs a jungle on the outskirts of Shimla. Pic/PTI
An inferno engulfs a jungle on the outskirts of Shimla. Pic/PTI

The fires were brought under control and no damage was caused to the 169-year-old residential school, said R Chauhan, a senior teacher from the school, adding that all the students were safe.

Fire tenders were rushed to the forests, which fought the flames for nearly two hours and brought them under control. The forest officials said that it was ground fire caused by burning of dry pine needles and such fires are common during the summer and a number of fires have occurred in forests in Kasauli and surrounding areas but all these had been put out.

“The fires broke out in forests in Kasauli areas and forests surrounding the Sanawar School were also affected, but the school complex was safe and fires have been extinguished”, said Rakesh Kanwar, deputy commissioner, Solan district.

He added that dry pine needles are highly inflammable and highly prone to fires during summer.

Forest fires in Uttarakhand under control: Rajnath
The Centre yesterday said forest fires in Uttarakhand were completely under control. “The situation in Uttarakhand is completely under control. I can assure you that there is nothing to worry. Three teams of NDRF and three IAF MI-17 helicopters were also engaged to control the situation,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed Lok Sabha. He also denied reports of deaths due to the fire and said that the local administration was yet to confirm the deaths.

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