Fire Rages in Lolab Forests, Loud Explosions Rattle Area 

Kupwara—Dense forests of Lolab Valley in frontier district of Kupwara district are being consumed by blaze that started 12 days ago with officials pleading helplessness, saying controlling fire is not in their hands as they fear to go inside woods due to explosions that rattle the area intermittently.

In Compartment number 19 of Sogam and 30, 31, 37 of Diver Lolab, the forests, particularly on higher reaches, caught fire 12 days ago mysteriously.

Officials said that the cause of fire was not known but on October 11 they managed to douse it in lower areas. “With the help of our staff, locals and forest officials, the fire was doused but nearly 200 to 300 feet away, it again started in dense jungles,” Range Officer Mohammad Yaseen for Lolab Range said.

He said that they fear going inside jungle area due to explosions that are occurring there. “There were large explosions. We don’t know exact cause of blasts”, he said and did not rule out the presence of land mines He said there is an army post located at one of the mountain tops.

Asked what caused the fire, the Range Officer said that there was no rain since past four-five months and the dry spell may be the cause. “We were earlier told that nomads set alight the forest but then after conducting probe, it turned out hoax,” he said, adding that the efforts are on to douse the fire but so far the blaze is continuing. “I myself went to the spot. I heard explosions and right now, we can’t go inside the jungle due to fear of casualties,” he said. (GNS)

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