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Forest fires spread to Himachal, threaten prestigious school

Tue, May 03, 2016, 11:00 AM
The Uttarakhand forest fires have spread to Himachal Pradesh, threatening a prestigious school there on Monday. The school authorities have evacuated the students of the Pinegrove school to safer places and fire engines have been stationed near the school. While the fire near the school is doused, black smoke is billowing forth.

Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the forest fires have been caused by the rise in temperatures in the summer months.

Forest officials reported some 380 blazes in the forests, mainly in the low hills, destroying tree cover over 3000 hectares. Most of the fires were in the Shivalik ranges in Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra and Sirmaur districts.

A majority of the fires were reported from the pine forests, where the fall of the pine needles on the ground is potential for causing big fires because of the presence of turpentine oil in the needles.

A huge tract of forest in the Tara Devi Hills overlooking Shimla was destroyed in the fire in the last 2 days, according to a resident of the area.

The National Disaster Relief Force has been deployed in the Uttarakhand and Himachal States and the force is being helped by some 10,000 personnel of different departments. The Centre has pressed in three MI helicopters to fight the fires. Volunteers and home guards are also involved in fighting the massive balzes.
Agency: Ap7am Desk

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