FP mobile diaries: Poor resources, tools slowed efforts combating Uttarakhand forest fires

The forest department was under-staffed and lacked the resources and equipment to combat the flames in the Uttarakhand fire.

Sai Prasad Mohapatra May 11, 2016 14:53:39 IST

A series of forest fires that broke out in Uttarakhand in February this year have destroyed at least 2,269 hectares of forested land. The latest satellite images of the state show that the flames have gone out in about 70 percent of the affected areas; those combating the fire were aided in no small measure by unseasonal rains. However, there is extensive debate over how the fire began and what caused it. According to an earlier Firstpost report, land and timber mafia are responsible for the forest fire.

FP mobile diaries Poor resources tools slowed efforts combating Uttarakhand forest fires

I ventured into the forests of Almora for a couple of days after unexpected rains had helped douse the flames, and I recorded the extent of damage on my mobile phone. A few villagers claimed that one of the causes could be a reckless disposal of cigarettes and lit matchsticks. After speaking to foresters and fire-fighters, I discovered that the forest department was under-staffed and lacked the resources and equipment to combat the flames.

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