Forest fires are back to haunt the state of Uttarakhand, which has been reeling under an unending heat wave. The fires have destroyed about 180 hectares of green cover in the Uttarkashi district.
Apart from Uttarakhand, fresh forest fires have also broken out in the forests of Jammu & Kashmir. "The forests of Trikuta hills near the Vaishno Devi shrine were gutted, putting tourists at risk. Meanwhile, forest fires also broke out in Srinagar," reports ANI.
Indian Air Force helicopters were called in to battle the wildfires on the Trikuta Hills near the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. For the fires in J&K, about 15-20 thousand litres of water have been used to contain it.
Six fires were raging in North India according to ISRO's National Remote Sensing Center in Hyderabad. According to experts, six more weeks of the 'fire season' remain before the monsoon hits.
"Currently 180 hectares of forest land spread over 111 places in Uttarkashi district are in flames," Shridhar Babu Addanki, a senior official told NDTV. He added, "Rangers and Divisional Forest Officers have been asked to rush to the spots where fires are active and extinguish the flames as soon as possible."
Since the first forest fire broke out back in February, about 2,000 fires have come and gone, gutting approximately 4050 hectares of forest land in Uttarakhand. So far, four people have been killed.