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Nainital forest fire: Uttarakhand CM says Army called in to extinguish blaze

Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on Saturday that the Indian Army and Air Force helicopters are assisting in controlling forest fires in the state that have reached Nainital after raging for over 36 hours and burning several hectares of green cover.
Dhami said today that the fire poses a substantial challenge and that all necessary resources are being mobilized to address the situation.
A massive fire broke out in Ladiyakata area of the Nainital Air Force Centre on Friday. The blaze has been burning for over 36 hours, sweeping through dense forests in the mountainous region.
The district administration has also deployed helicopters in the fire-fighting operations.
"The forest fires are a challenge for us. This is a big fire. We are working for all the essential needs. We have asked for help from the Army. Army helicopters are also spraying water in the affected area," Dhami told ANI.
"I am going to conduct a meeting in Haldwani today. We have conducted a meeting in Dehradun also regarding this. We will try to control the fire as soon as possible," he added.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed MI-17 helicopters to assist in the firefighting efforts. These helicopters are pulling water from Nainital Lake to douse the flames, resulting in a temporary halt to boating activities on the lake.
Rahul Anand, Executive Officer of the Nainital Municipal Corporation, explained that safety precautions were taken to allow the IAF helicopters to collect water from Nainital Lake.
"We received information of IAF helicopters seeking permission to take water from Nainital to douse the fire. To make arrangements, we closed boating in the lake for the day. Fire is reported in Nainital in many places, including very close to the Air Force Station in the district," Anand said.
"The main purpose of bringing in helicopters to douse the fire was to keep the Air Force Station safe. The situation is under control now. Efforts are continuing," he said.
According to officials, the IAF choppers are lifting water from the nearby Bhimtal Lake in Nainital and spraying it in the area to contain and eventually put out the raging forest fire.
Earlier, Rahul Anand said that after an aerial inspection that MI-17 choppers are jet-spraying the affected areas amid the raging forest fire.
"I carried out an aerial inspection and can confirm IAF choppers have been involved in firefighting operations in the affected forests since this morning," Anand said.
The blaze has already consumed several hectares of the forested terrain, with the leaping flames yet to be brought under complete control.
According to the official, the IAF choppers conducted aerial surveys over Nainital, Bhimtal, and Sattal lakes, identifying suitable locations from where it could lift water for the dousing operation. The choppers, with sacks and buckets hanging by a rope from them, were spraying water over the affected forests surrounding Nainital, till last reports.

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