Uttarakhand Deploys Mi-17 Helicopter to Combat Raging Forest Fires

Uttarakhand battles intense forest fires, deploying Mi-17 choppers and the Indian Army to control the blaze that has consumed over 650 hectares of land since November.

Rafia Tasleem
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Uttarakhand Deploys Mi-17 Helicopter to Combat Raging Forest Fires

Uttarakhand Deploys Mi-17 Helicopter to Combat Raging Forest Fires

The Uttarakhand government has deployed a Mi-17 helicopter to combat intense forest fires spreading in the Nainital district and surrounding areas. According to officials, 544 incidents of forest fires have been reported in the region from November 2023 to April 2024, destroying over 656.55 hectares of forest land.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been actively involved in the firefighting efforts, with Mi-17 choppers lifting water from the nearby Bhimtal Lake and spraying it on the affected forests to contain and extinguish the flames. Despite the relentless efforts, the fire has already consumed numerous hectares of forested land, with the blaze yet to be brought under complete control.

On Friday, the situation worsened as the flames reached the High Court Colony in the Pines area of Nainital. The district administration has pressed helicopters into the fire-fighting operations, and the Indian Army has been called in to assist in controlling the ongoing forest fire that has been burning for over 36 hours.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami acknowledged the severity of the situation, stating, "All efforts are being made to bring the fires under control." He announced that he would be holding a meeting with stakeholders in Haldwani to address the escalating crisis.

In the last 24 hours, 31 new incidents of forest fire were reported, destroying an additional 33.34 hectares of forest land. The authorities have deployed 40 Manora Range personnel and two forest rangers to extinguish the fires. Three people were also arrested in Rudraprayag on Friday for attempting to set fire to forests.

Why this matters: The spreading forest fires in Uttarakhand not only pose a severe threat to the region's biodiversity and ecosystem but also endanger human lives and property. The deployment of aerial firefighting resources and the involvement of the Indian Army underscore the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for effective fire management strategies.

Since November

Key Takeaways

  • Uttarakhand govt deploys Mi-17 helicopter to combat intense forest fires in Nainital.
  • 544 forest fire incidents reported from Nov 2023 to Apr 2024, destroying 656.55 hectares.
  • IAF lifts water from Bhimtal Lake to douse flames, but fire remains uncontrolled.
  • Situation worsens as fire reaches High Court Colony, Army called in to assist.
  • 31 new incidents in 24 hrs, 3 arrested for attempting to set forests ablaze.