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Uttarakhand forest fire: MI-17 Indian Air Force helicopters roped in to douse the fire
Government has decided to take help of Indian Air Force to douse fire in Uttarakhand forests, which has so far affected 1,900 hectares of forests land. Two MI-17 helicopters will now help the fire-fighting teams of NDRF, SDRF and Army.

The fire incidents which started on February 2 this year has so far claimed six lives as per the latest reports coming in. Right now three NDRF and one SDRF company has been deployed in the State to douse the fire.     

The worst-affected Uttarakhand districts include Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Almora, Pithoragarh and Nainital. The MI-17 IAF helicopters have been sent to Pauri and Nainital districts to spray water over the burning forest areas.  

However, as per media report the 11-member IAF team on the two helicopters could not start the work as there was zero visibility situation in Bhimtal near Nainital and Pauri due to thick smoke. 

Since the beginning of fire season in the state this year, 922 fire incidents have so far occurred in various districts. The Governor of the State, KK Paul is keeping a close watch on the situation. The Governor also reviewed the ongoing rescues operations via videoconferencing. He has asked the concerned officials to speed up their efforts.

Meanwhile Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakas Javadekar has informed that a fund of Rs 500 cr has been earmarked for the fire-fighting in Uttarakhand. He said that the PMO and Home Ministry are also monitoring the situation on regular basis.  

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