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Chakrata forest fire doused after three days

 Since Wednesday, a fire has been raging in two hectares of forests in Malta of Tyuni range, within Chakrata forest division. On Friday, the forest department said it had been brought it "somewhat under control". Division forest officer Diwakar Sinha said, "It is not yet known how the jungle caught fire. Someone must have thrown inflammable material there, or set the fire." He said that establishing the cause of the fire would prove hard, after nearly two hectares of forests were reduced to ashes.


There are, as yet, no estimates of the loss of green cover and wildlife. "I am yet to get the report of the damage as the area is quite far from Tyuni," Sinha said. It took the forest department more than one and a half days to overpower the flames. Sinha said high temperatures aided the spread of the flames. "Fire takes time to spread if there is moisture or coldness in the weather. But with the temperature soaring, the fire spreads very fast. Besides, fire catches that much quicker if it starts lower down and moves uphill, as happened here."


Just days ago, another forest in the same division caught fire. Sinha said it was disconcerting that fires continued, despite an awareness campaign to discourage people from doing things that could set off blazes in forest land. People had been trained to make coal blocks with Chir pine leaves that help douse fire, Sinha said. In the last two-and-a-half months, more than 150 incidents of fire in forest lands have been reported in Uttarakhand.


  Times of India, Delhi, 7th June 2014