Nainital forest fire: Uttarakhand govt staff's leaves cancelled, IAF choppers pressed into action | 5 latest updates

Mi-17 V5 helicopters are spraying 5,000 litres of lake water at a time

Uttarakhand Nainital forest fire Flames rise during a forest fire in Uttarakhand; BOX:A Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force conducts 'Bambi Bucket Operation' in Nainital | PTI

The forest fire that broke out near Uttarakhand's Nainital horrifically strengthened on Friday. Traffic was severely hit after fires engulfed the forests from Pines to Ladiyakanta. Uttarakhand government was forced to seek the Indian Army's assistance as the fire came dangerously close to residential zones. There were reports that the fast-spreading flames were raging hardly five kilometres away from an Army cantonment. 

From November 1 last year till now, a total of 575 incidents of forest fire have been reported in Uttarakhand, affecting 689.89 hectares of forest area. Here are five latest updates from Uttarakhand as efforts to extinguish the forest fire progress. 

1. The Indian Air Force (IAF) was forced into action on Saturday to combat the spreading fire. Images of aerial fire-fighting-capable Mi-17 V5 helicopters engaged in 'Bambi Bucket Ops' were released by the official X handle of the IAF. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that the IAF choppers are trying to dose the flames by using water from above.

2. The residents of Nainital's High Court Colony (HC Colony) remain on the edge as forest fire reached dangerously close to residential buildings. The Mi-17 helicopters are using the water from the Bhimtal Lake to douse the flames in The Pines area.

3. Bhumiadhar, Jyolikot, Narayan Nagar, Bhawali, Ramgarh and Mukteshwar are the other areas where IAF helicopters are flying over to spray water, news agency PTI said. The bucket can hold up to 5,000 litres of water at a time.

4. The Chief Minister conducted an aerial survey of the affected regions to take stock of the situation. Strict action will be initiated against the "miscreants" who set the forests on fire, Dhami said. It is a common practice in parts of Uttarakhand to start fires in forest areas to destroy unfavourable vegetation, reports claim.

5. A ban on the construction of houses and car washing has been imposed until the situation is brought under control. The leaves of all government staff concerned stand cancelled in the hill state.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp