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"Uttarakhand in Flames: A Call for Urgent Action"
Dr. Vivek Panwar
Assistant Professor, Depatment of Physics, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi
(Published on: 15 May, 2024 @07 PM)

Uttarakhand, a beautiful northern Indian state, has been grappling with devastating forest fires since November 2023. Over 1,000 hectares of forest land have been consumed by the flames, resulting in the loss of five lives and extensive property damage. The fires have primarily impacted the Garhwal and Kumaon regions, with districts like Nainital, Almora, Tehri, and Pauri being the hardest hit.

The fires have been fueled by dry conditions and an abundance of dry leaves, which usually pose a risk from February to June. However, insufficient winter rains have exacerbated the situation this year, making the forests even more vulnerable. Despite the efforts of over 12,000 forest department personnel and the deployment of Indian Air Force helicopters, the fires continue to rage, with around 40 active fires reported in early May 2024.

The state government has taken several measures, including a week-long ban on burning fodder and solid waste near forests and the establishment of 1,300 fire stations. Nevertheless, the recurring nature of these fires underscores the need for improved forest management and disaster preparedness. As Uttarakhand battles these blazes, it is crucial to implement sustainable solutions to protect its forests and communities.

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