Helicopters called in to douse Hill fire near Vaishno Devi Shrine




Forest fire

After a day of uncontrolled fire on the Trikuta Hills near Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Indian Air Force helicopters have been called in on Wednesday in battling  the fire.

The helicopters have been deployed to assist the paramilitary forces and the fire service engaged in battling the flames since Tuesday morning.

An official has informed a Delhi based wire agency, that the wild fires had been spreading but “are likely to be controlled in a few hours. There is no reason to panic”.

“Choppers of IAF carried water from reservoir of Salal Dam to douse the flames which erupted yesterday and nearly half of the fire has been controlled,” official spokesperson said.

He said authorities have managed to bring devastating fire under control, adding, “over 200 men including firemen and staff of the Shrine Board have extinguished the fire in the affected area and are working on a war footing to completely douse the flames.”

“The IAF choppers were pressed into service on the request of district administration and Shrine Board,” Lt Col Manish Mehta, defence spokesperson  said. He asserted that the process of bringing the fire under control is still in progress.

“The chopper service from Katra to Vaishno Devi shrine was suspended yesterday in view of fire,” he said.

As a precaution, all civilian helicopters which ferry pilgrims from Katra town to the Vaishno Devi shrine on the Trikuta Hills were on Tuesday moved to the campus of the Mata Vaishno Devi University.

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