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Posted at: Apr 29, 2016, 12:45 AM; last updated: Apr 29, 2016, 12:45 AM (IST)

Forest fires reduce visibility in Kumaon region

BDKasniyal

Pithoragarh, April 28

The smog, caused by rampant forest fires in the Kumaon region in the past 10 days, has reduced visibility to 500 metres in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts.

NS Kutiyal, Chief Medical Superintendent, Pithoragarh, said, “The smoke emitted from forest fires creates health problems. It is harmful especially for asthma patients and children. It also harms eyes.”

According to reports from Champawat district, dense smoke has resulted in a rise in temperature. The temperature recorded yesterday in the valley areas was 34 degree Celsius, which was 4 centimeter higher than normal temperature. “Forest fires in the district have destroyed not only big trees but also some fodder plant nurseries. The recently planted saplings by eco-taskforce of the Army in our area have also been destroyed as villagers did not take care of these,” said Hema Pathak, chairperson of Dashauli Forest Panchayat in Berinag subdivision of Pithoragarh district.

Women from Nachani area of Munsiyari subdivision, who are dependent on dairy business, rued that there was lack of fire extinguishers to protect forests, which were their only livelihood where they got fodder for their livestock. They apprised Baibhav Gupta, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Munsiyari, of their woes who reached the area to take stock of the situation.

“We have taken the responsibility of saving the 144 hectares of forest from fire. We take turns to guard it during night hours as anti-social elements set the forest on fire,” said Tulsi Devi, Sarpanch of the Nachni Forest Panchayat.

In Almora, fire engulfed Someshwar forests range yesterday. “We have now decided to arrest the person, who is caught setting forest in fires, under Forest Act,” said SR Prajapati, Divisional Forest Officer, Almora.

Two women sustain burns in Tehri Garhwal

Dehradun: Two women sustained burns while dousing forest fire in Tehri Garhwal district on Wednesday.

Victims Basanti Devi, 60, and Kaushaliya Devi, 37, are residents of Tilwal village in Chamba block of Tehri Garhwal.

On hearing their cries, villagers rushed them to a nearest hospital, where condition of Basanti Devi was stated to be serious. — TNS

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