Sariska fire engulfs 20 km of forest area, IAF choppes called in (Ld)

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The fire that broke out in Sariska forests in Alwar district has spread over 20 km area. The Indian Air Force helicopters have to be pressed into service to douse the blaze.

The IAF’s help was sought as there are several tigers in the part of the forest where the fire is raging.

Soon, two army helicopters arrived on Tuesday morning to douse the fire. The choppers are collecting water from Siliserh lake.

Officials said that more than 200 people, including the staff and villagers of three ranges of Sariska, Alwar and Dausa, are engaged in dousing the blaze. Help has also been sought from the army. Many villages of Sariska have been evacuated.

Officials confirmed that the fire broke out in the hills at Baleta Prithvipura Naka on Sunday. After this, efforts were being made to control the fire with the help of forest workers and villagers from around 8 p.m. on Sunday. But, till Tuesday, the fire could not be brought under control, however, it spread to Narandi, Rotkyala and Baheri on Monday evening.

Sariska DFO Sudarshan Sharma said that about 150 hectares of forest has been burnt in the fire.

The place where the fire broke out in the Akbarpur range houses a tiger nursery which has around 25 tigers. Meanwhile, defence officials confirmed that IAF is extending assistance in controlling fire spread over large areas in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

“The IAF has deployed two Mi 17 V5 helicopters for Bambi Bucket ops – Operation Underway,” tweeted PRO Jaipur, Ministry of Defence.

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