At least 11 incidents of forest fire were reported across Uttarakhand on Friday caused by flints flaring up under strong winds and rising temperature, according to the forest officials.
Out of them six were reported from the Kalsi region of Dehradun, two each in Nainital and Pauri divisions and one in Tehri, according to the forest vigilance cell.
These fires have destroyed about 14.25 hectares of forest with the maximum damage in Dehradun alone (about 5.75 hectares). However, no loss of life has been reported so far, the officials said. Division forest officer (DFO) Dehradun Sushant Patnaik said the fires were brought under control before they could turn fierce and spread to human settlements.
Terai Central divisional forest officer Parag Madhukar said the increase temperature contributed to breaking out of the wildfire where 4 hectare of forest area was burnt to ashes in two days time. Temperature had been prevailing above 39 degrees Celsius in Dehradun and adjoining areas for the two days, officials said.
State forest minister Dinesh Agarwal had held a meeting with forest officials on May 20 and directed them to keep a strict check on forest fires by using satellite images. He had also asked them to keep the forest staff and equipment at the master control rooms and crew stations. The department has set up 34 master control rooms across the state.
The forest fire season begins on February 15 and extends till June 15. In all, 30 incidents of fire have been reported since March 2015, the officials said.
Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) SS Sharma said the department was taking all possible measures to safeguard forests from fires.