Dehradun: The toll in the blazing forest fires in Uttarakhand rose to nine on Wednesday with two more deaths reported from Nainital.
Meanwhile, a long-awaited spell of showers lashed most parts of Uttarakhand supplementing fire dousing operations across the state in a huge way.
Rains which started on Tuesday evening in the higher reaches of the mountains lashed the plains overnight drenching the forests and buttressing efforts being put in by the agencies engaged in a massive firefighting exercise in the state with over 11,000 personnel at work on the ground.
Claiming that the forest fire situation in the state is well under control now, Chief Secretary Shatrughna Singh said a total of 90 forest fires were sighted on Wednesday out of which 76 were immediately extinguished and the remaining 14 will also soon be brought under control.
Officials said the three IAF choppers were not used yesterday for water sprinkling operations.
Two more deaths were reported from Nainital taking the total number of people killed in fire-related incidents across the state since February 02 to nine.
Light to moderate rains hit the higher reaches of the mountains in the evening on Tuesday and swept the plains overnight with Munsyari in the hills receiving 11 mm of rains and Dehradun in the plains recording 10 mm of showers, Director MeT department Vikram Singh told PTI.
So far almost all the places in the state have received rain in varying degrees including Tyuni, Utttarkashi, Purola, Munsyari, Chamoli and Joshimath bringing the temperatures down by almost two degrees since Monday, he said, adding the downward trend will continue for a couple of days more.
According to latest data released by Principal Conservator of Forest BP Gupta, 3739 hectares of forest land lie ravaged by forest fires in the state.
(With PTI inputs)