Forest fires engulfed large areas in the Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, near the Vaishno Devi shrine, officials said on Tuesday.
The fires are raging in the area for the last two days even as teams of the forest and fire services departments, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, officials of the shrine board and police are engaged in fighting them, officials told IANS.
Officials, however, confirmed the fires are away from the shrine, but as a precautionary measure, all the helicopters used to ferry pilgrims from Katra town to the uphill cave have been shifted to the campus of the Mata Vaishno Devi University away from the forest area.
“Round the clock efforts are on to bring the fires under control”, said a senior official of the provincial administration.
Forest fires are often triggered by carelessness of trekkers and by those who venture into forests to collect firewood.