Shimla: Even as Uttarakhand is battling a massive forest fire spreading across several districts, which has killed seven people and threatened to destroy hundreds of villages, Himachal Pradesh is now facing a similar situation with 50 hectares of woodland destroyed in Shimla within a week.
According to forest officials, wild fires have been raging in the rural areas near Shimla for over a week now. They further said that the fire has spread to 12 new locations in the region.
In the past one month, more than 200 forest fire incidents have been reported in the state, ANI reported. On Wednesday, fire broke out in two new places - Sangti and Summer Hill areas.
The Himachal government on Sunday said that rise in temperature is the reason behind fire in Shimla rural forest division.
"It is nothing new. Fire break out in forest areas is due to rise in temperature," Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister told media persons here.
"I think 50-60 hectares of area is affected... Several incidents of fire from different areas have been reported after rise in temperature," Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Shimla, Raman Sharma said.
About 22 percent, covering 8,267 sq km of the total forest area in the state, is fire prone, the report said. Majority of fire incidents are reported from the pine forests during summers every year when pine trees shed their dry needles, which are highly inflammable, it added.