NEW DELHI, April 4 (Xinhua) — At least four people were killed and two others suffered burns in a devastating forest fire in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials said on Sunday.
The fire started at numerous locations along 62 hectares of forest area.
“Fire broke out at 964 locations in the state. Four persons were killed and two others injured in the blaze,” Harak Singh Rawat, a local minister, was quoted by the media as saying. “Seven animals also perished in the fire.”
Authorities have rushed forest department officials, firefighters and disaster management teams to contain the blaze.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has called an emergency meeting over the forest fire incidents in the state. Rawat has attributed the increasing fires in the forest to less rainfall received by the state during winters.
“Forest fires not only damages forest wealth but also causes loss to human life and wildlife. In view of the seriousness of the incidents of forest fire, an emergency meeting of senior officials of the state, forest department, disaster management department and all the district officials has been called immediately,” Rawat said.
Meanwhile, to control the blaze, Home Minister Amit Shah has talked to Rawat and given orders to deploy National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to assist the Uttarakhand government.
“To control the fire and prevent the loss of life, the central government has given instructions to keep NDRF team and helicopter available for the government of Uttarakhand,” the home minister said. Enditem