With major fires blighting around 1,900 hectares of forests in Uttarakhand, the government has deployed two MI-17 helicopters into service as NDRF, SDRF and Army personnel struggled to douse the flames which have claimed six lives till now.Since the beginning of forest fire incidents in the state in early February this year, 922 incidents have occurred so far killing six people including three women and a child, in separate incidents, injuring seven and blighting 1890.79 hectares of green cover, Principal Conservator of Forest (Research) B P Gupta said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rudraprayag forest division is taking the army’s help for fire-fighting operations especially along the highways, Gupta said.Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Almora and Nainital are the worst-affected districts, he said.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand forest fires spread to 13 districts; claims 5 livesThe casualties due to forest fires which have spread to sparsely-populated remote hill areas, rose to six with another life lost in Nainital district.Locals are being encouraged to report a fire incident to the District Magistrate concerned as soon as they see it so that it can be controlled in time.The Governor has doubled the number of personnel deployed to control the fires from 3000 to 6000 and asked all agencies including SDRF, district administration and the rural population to contribute their bits in the exercise saying the forest department alone cannot accomplish the onerous task, Gupta said.Forest fires are a natural phenomena in summer but this time they have occurred on a bigger scale as the fire season which normally begins by February 15 and ends by June 15 began on February 2 itself.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul regarding the incidents of forest fires in the state and reviewed the situation.During the telephonic talk, Singh assured the Governor of providing all necessary assistance to the state to control the forest fires and help in containing the damage, official sources said.(With PTI inputs)

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Uttarakhand: Air Force Choppers Mi-17 to spray water as forest fires continue to rage; 6 dead