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Fire engulfs forest area in Udhampur

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Jammu: A massive forest fire swept through large areas of Udhampur district causing extensive damage to forest resources, including wildlife, officials said on Wednesday.
Efforts of the forest department and local people to control the blaze have been unsuccessful so far and residents have sought the deployment of the Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers to douse the blaze.
The fire, which began in the Darsoo forest area between Udhampur and Jammu districts on Tuesday, has spread across five to six sq km.
“We urge the administration to deploy helicopters from the IAF to douse the fire. The current efforts by the forest department and locals have been insufficient and the fire is spreading to new areas,” local resident Harvinder Singh said. “It has caused enormous losses and immediate aerial support is crucial,” he said.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined, though some locals suspect it may have been deliberately set by miscreants. To bolster firefighting efforts, the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) joined local teams but the fire continues to spread, exacerbated by winds, the officials said. The forest areas in Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir were engulfed by fire on Tuesday, causing significant damage to forest wealth. The forest department officials and local residents took several hours to bring the fire under control.
According to the fire service department, there are currently 10 to 13 fire incidents occurring daily in the region, attributed to the rising temperatures.

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