Dry Winter Aftermath: Forests Turning Into Ashes

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Srinagar—Many forest areas in the Valley are rapidly turning into ashes due to massive fires over the past two days.

Officials said that forest fires that broke out in Handwara and Tral-Shikargah were rapidly spreading to other forests in the Valley.

Authorities have so far failed to bring the situation under control, leading to more areas being engulfed by flames.

On late Friday evening, a fire broke out in compartment 25 of the Nowroz Baba forests of the Tangmarg division.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Tangmarg, Doctor Meraj said that officials and local people were on the job to douse the flames.

The locals said that the forest department had miserably failed to put out the flames in time, which caused the fire to spread to more areas.

On Saturday, fire engulfed a huge forest area in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

Reports said that the fire had broken out in compartments 18 and 19 of the forest division on Friday and engulfed a large area.

The fires have spread to various forest areas including those in Bandipora, Kangan (Wangat), Anantnag, Tral and Kupwara (Zagipora).

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bandipora, Abdul Majeed Malla said that officials were on the job to douse to the fire, and some volunteers were also helping bring the situation under control.

“Around 150 men of Bandipora Police and SDRF including officers and jawans have been pressed into service by District Police to help forest officials and other volunteers to take control of the fire that had engulfed Bandipora forests in the compartments No’s 109 and 110 since Thursday evening,” a police spokesman said.

Conservator of forests, North Circle, Irfan Rasool Wani said that the fire was triggered by the dry spell that Kashmir witnessed this winter.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Forest department and volunteers are working tirelessly to douse the forest fire in Bandipora, Kangan, Anantnag and other affected areas. They have succeeded in partially extinguishing it. All departments are on high alert to make sure that the situation is brought under control.” (KNS)

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