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Forest fire spreads to agricultural fields, six girls receive burns

Six students of Malna Government Girls’ Inter College receive burn injuries after being caught in a forest fire while returning home from school

dehradun Updated: May 24, 2018 22:11 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand News
People try to extinguish a forest fire in Pauri district.(HT Photo)

Sixteen-year-old Shivani of Pattra village in Uttarkashi district did not know that her routine walk to home after school would give her scars for a lifetime. Caught in a fire, which spread from forests to agricultural fields, she, along with five other students of her class, received serious burn injuries.

The students of Malna Government Girls’ Inter College were returning home from school, about 2-3 km away, on Wednesday afternoon. They took the usual shortcut route through the agricultural fields that were burning because of the forest fire spread.

Initially ignorant of the fire, the girls entered the fields. Later, they spotted the fire, but planned to move quickly through it thinking they would dodge the threat. But their slippers caught fire, which spread to bags and then clothes. They all ran together and reached the main road to find help.

Trespassers admitted them to the local primary health centre. Kalpana, Vandna, Preeti, all of Jakhari village, were discharged after primary treatment. But Shivani, Karishma and Muskan were referred to a private hospital at Brahmakhal. They were also discharged late in the evening.

“When we entered the agricultural area, we thought it’s a small fire and won’t harm us. But within seconds, the flames reached us and we all ran towards the main road,” said Shivani, who received burns in her legs and arms.

Sandeep Kumar, divisional forest officer (DFO), said, “Minor injuries are reported to the girls due to the fire in the fields. They are safe.”

The forest fires in Uttarakhand have also spread to agricultural fields and villages. The state has so far reported 1,045 fires incidents damaging 2,250 hectare of forest cover. Nearly 4,000 people are engaged in the firefighting. The condition is particularly severe in the Garhwal circle that has recorded damage in 1,197 hectare area, followed by North Kumaon circle (597.76 hectares).

Chief minister TS Rawat had asked forest officers for the better protection of forest cover and people. He has made the district magistrates (DMs) responsible for spread of fire and the resulting loss.

First Published: May 24, 2018 22:11 IST