Uttarakhand continues to suffer from the raging forest fire, which has destroyed 2269 hectares of forested area across the state.
On Sunday, a MI 17 chopper of the IAF began water sprinkling operations in Nainital to control the fire, as another chopper engaged for the same mission failed to take off due to low visibility.
The chopper, according to PTI, has the capacity of carrying 3000 litres of water.
It is collecting water from Bhimtal lake and making sorties of Almakhan, Kilbari and Nalena areas of the district to douse the fires, Principal Conservator of Forest and nodal officer BP Gupta told PTI.
However, another IAF chopper engaged for the same purpose in Pauri failed to take off due to low visibility, Pauri District Magistrate Chandrasekhar Bhatt was quoted by the news agency.
The chopper has collected water from Shrinagar dam but will make a sortie over areas where fires are active only when visibility improves, he said.
Meanwhile, the Director of Delhi’s Fire Department is visiting Uttarakhand to extend all help required to douse the forest fire in the hill state today.
Seven persons have been killed due to forest fires, which have spread to sparsely populated remote hill areas.
Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag and Tehri are among the worst hit districts, Gupta said but hoped with all agencies activated the situation was bound to improve.
Three companies of the NDRF, one of SDRF besides PRD and homeguard personnel are currently engaged in the operations, he said.
135 NDRF personnel have been pushed into service in the hill state, sources said. The Prime Minister’s office has sought information on the fires.
Since the elected government of Uttarakhand has been dismissed by the Centre, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the state Governor K K Paul assuring him Centre’s assistance to control forest fires and help containing the damage.
With the MeT department predicting a significant fall in day temperatures after 2 May , forest fires may get under control after a couple of days, he said but added that the administration will have to remain alert for the next 35 days to prevent fresh forest fire incidents.