Uttarakhand forest fires claim 5 lives, rage through Almora region – India News

Uttarakhand forest fires claim 5 lives, rage through Almora region – India News
Uttarakhand forest fires claim 5 lives, rage through Almora region – India News

Raging wildfires in several forest ranges of Uttarakhand have claimed at least five lives in the past three days, with the recent incident being of a 28-year-old woman of Nepalese origin who reportedly died on Sunday in the Almora region.

Adi Kailash helicopter darshan service was also suspended for the second day in a row on Sunday and flights at the Naini Saini airport in Pithoragarh were stopped due to low visibility in fire-induced haze.

Meanwhile, pilgrims at Dunagiri temple, a shrine in the Almore district, were asked to evacuate on Saturday as wildfire engulfed the path to the temple. Visuals from the site showed pilgrims screaming and scrambling for safety, the Times of India reported.

Earlier, three workers at a pine resin factory in Almora died of burn injuries they sustained while dousing a forest fire that had reached close to their factory, an official told PTI on Friday.

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All the workers were from Nepal and not part of the designated firefighting teams.

They received burn injuries while struggling to quell the blaze in the Gananath range of Almora forest division near their factory on Thursday and were under treatment at the base hospital, Almora, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, a report from Nainital said smog has engulfed the tourist town as a result of the raging forest fires. Air pollution is also on the rise which may cause problems among residents. Forest areas in parts of Nainital, Haldwani and Ramnagar forest divisions were the worst affected. In some of these areas, the fire was controlled with the help of Mi-17 choppers.

Since November 1 last year, there have been 868 fire incidents in Uttarakhand in which more than 1,000 hectares of forest land have been destroyed. Of the total fire incidents, Kumaon has reported 456 and Garhwal 344, the forest fire bulletin said, PTI reported.

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According to officials, the fire incidents in Uttarakhand are mainly attributed to human activities. Officials told TOI that locals sometimes ignite grasslands to clear areas for agriculture or livestock grazing, inadvertently sparking larger wildfires.

On the forest fire in Garhwal region, DM Pauri Garhwal, Ashish Chauhan said, “So far, there are 6 small active fire spots found. A major fire was controlled after around 8 days and 12 hours. Two FIRs have been registered against 35 unidentified persons in connection with the fire incidents and a total of 8-9 people have been arrested…”

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