Uttarakhand forest fire LIVE: 1500 villages under threat, govt issues alert

Over 1500 villages on Sunday were under threat from the raging forest fires in Uttarakhand, prompting the centre to deploy three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to bring the inferno under control.

By Ankita Bhandari | Last Updated: Apr 30, 2016, 22:30 PM IST
Uttarakhand forest fire LIVE: 1500 villages under threat, govt issues alert

Dehradun: Over 1500 villages on Sunday were under threat from the raging forest fires in Uttarakhand, prompting the centre to deploy three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to bring the inferno under control.

Forest fires are raging in at least 50 locations of the state, threatening to destroy human life and property, according to a report.

On Friday night, scores of villagers had rushed outside their homes to prevent the advancing blaze from engulfing their houses, even as government rescue teams struggled to contain the fire.

Here are the latest developments: 

- Director of Delhi's Fire Department to visit Uttarakhand tomorrow to extend all help required to douse the forest fire. 

- Preparation underway to drop water from air to douse Uttarakhand forest blaze, operations to begin tomorrow morning.

- Uttarakhand forest fire: Pauri, Chamoli, Tehri, Almora and Nainital worst affected regions, they have thick cover of Cheed and Sal trees.

- Water to de dropped from helicopters to extinguish the fire spread in the forests of Uttarakhand; the operation will begin from Sunday morning. 

- Uttarakhand forest fires: IAF deploys MI-17 chopper to control blaze, PMO assures help

- Centre is providing all necessary assistance to Uttarakhand to control the forest fires, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

- Indian Air Force (IAF) deploys 11-member team with Mi-17 helicopter to control the Uttarakhand forest blaze.

- Uttarakhand government seeks IAF's help to fight forest fire raging in the state.

- 1,900 hectare of forest in five districts have been affected in Uttarakhand fire so far.

- Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul holds meeting with district officials on forest fire through video-conferencing.

Meanwhile, three teams of NDRF, comprising 135 personnel, have been deployed in the forests of Uttarakhand to bring the fire under control.

NDRF director general OP Singh said his personnel have already started work in the affected areas.

The request for NDRF personnel was made by the state administration on Friday.

Garhwal Inspector General of Police Sanjay Gunjyal reportedly said that while two NDRF teams have been deployed in Garhwal region, one has been sent to Kumaon, the worst hit areas.

Also, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday sought information on fires in forests in Uttarakhand from the state government and assured all possible relief.

The forest fires in Uttarakhand have already destroyed nearly 1900 hectares of forest land in 13 districts since February.

"Three teams of NDRF comprising 135 personnel deployed to control fire in forests in Uttarakhand. The operation has begun," said Singh.

The NDRF teams are equipped with water tankers, floating pumps and medical setup to assist the rescue operation.

The teams will be posted at Almora, Pauri and Gauchar in Chamoli districts. Locals have been told to report a fire incident to the concerned district magistrate as soon as they spot it.

Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas are being made available on the forest department website.

Besides ravaging forests, the fire has killed four people, including two women, in Uttarkashi and a woman and her child in Nainital district.

Two others were reportedly burnt in separate incidents in Nainital and Chamoli districts.

Authorities had to close National Highway 58 that connects Badrinath for hours on Thursday after the forest fire could not be controlled.

Governor K.K. Paul has asked officials to scale up operations to control the fire.He has ordered deployment of additional staff and allocation of Rs. 5 crore to meet out the immediate financial needs required to control the fires.

Deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has written to Paul urging him to declare Uttarakhand a `forest fire-ravaged` state.