An Indian Air Force helicopter conducts a ‘Bambi Bucket’ operation to control the forest fire, in Pauri Garhwal district, Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

An Indian Air Force helicopter conducts a ‘Bambi Bucket’ operation to control the forest fire, in Pauri Garhwal district, Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
| Photo Credit: PTI

On a day when the Uttarakhand government submitted in the Supreme Court that the emergency situation pertaining to forest fire is now over and only 15 small to intermediate fires were reported as on 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the bulletin released by the State Forest department cited 40 fresh cases of fire on May 8, 2024.

Also, following a hearing on raging forest fire in the Supreme Court, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami took strict action against 17 “junior forest officers” by suspending 10 of them and starting a disciplinary inquiry against seven.

“Ten personnel of the Forest department who were negligent in preventing forest fire have been suspended. Instructions have been given to take disciplinary action against some other personnel as well,” said a communique issued from the government.

It added that the Chief Minister had directed all the District Magistrates (DM) to take public cooperation for effective prevention of forest fire and ensure strict action against those found involved in the incidents of setting fire to the forests.

During a review meeting on forest fire, Mr. Dhami stressed on making fire lines to prevent forest fire. “Forest fire is being controlled and a lot of difference can be seen in the last two to three days,” said the Chief Minister who added that the same can be done by reducing the response time on fire incidents.

During his visit to Rudraprayag on Wednesday, Mr. Dhami said an effective plan should be made for collecting ‘Pirul’ (pine leaves) from forests.

“I request all the people of the State to try to run Pirul collection as a campaign on a large scale to save the forests around you,” the Chief Minister said.

He added that to prevent forest fire, the government is working on the ‘Pirul Lao-Paise Pao’ (bring pine leaves and get money) mission.

“Under this mission, Pirul will be purchased at the collection centre at the rate of ₹50 a kg with the aim of reducing forest fire. This mission will be operated by the Pollution Control Board, for which a corpus fund of ₹50 crore will be kept separately,” Mr. Dhami said.

IAF operations

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) continues to help the State in dousing forest fires on Wednesday.

“In response to the raging forest fires at the Pauri Garhwal sector in Uttarakhand, the IAF provided much-needed relief by undertaking Bambi Bucket operations by its Mi17 V5 helicopters. Eight sorties of the helicopter were taken for over four hours in which 17,700 litres of water was dumped on the ground to douse the forest fire,” a communique from the IAF said.

The IAF, in the last couple of days has taken 23 sorties, for 11 and half hours and used 44,600 litres of water to douse the raging forest flames in the mountain.