The raging Uttarakhand forest fires that engulfed large parts of the hill state have raised serious concerns about the adverse and long-lasting effects it could have on the glaciers in the region.The ‘black carbon’ from smog and ash covering the glaciers could reportedly make them more prone to melting. The concerns have been raised by experts at Nainital’s Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences (ARIES) and Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) in Almora.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Glaciers such as Gangotri, Milam, Sundardunga, Newla and Cheepa, which are also the source of many rivers are majorly at risk, Manish Kumar, a senior scientist at the atmospherics department in ARIES told the Times of India .
ALSO READ Two more days to put out forest fire in Uttarakhand, says Prakash Javadekar”Black carbon is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass. It absorbs light and increases heat, which is why it can cause glaciers to melt faster,” Kumar told the daily.Meanwhile, at least four people have been arrested in connection with the forest fires in the region.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand forest fire: A burning problemAt least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.Nearly 10,000 people and three IAF helicopters are engaged in operations to douse forest fires, which have so far dropped 30,000 litres of water to douse fires.The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75% of the affected area in the hill state.