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Dry weather, soaring mercury cause forest fires

Kotdwara: Dry weather and soaring mercury have caused several forest fires in Himalayan region of Garhwal and hills near Kotdwara.

"This exceptionally dry weather has accelerated the incidence of fire," Range officer J P Kukreti said here today. He said the problem has been compounded by villagers starting some fires with the belief that they will get a richer fodder crop yield.

"Sometimes, certain practices of villagers add to the problem as it is believed that burning down dried crop stubbles will provide richer fodder yield during the rainy season," Kukreti said. "We have arrested four persons for causing forest fires," he said.

A forest official claimed lack of man power and primitive techniques used by forest department were limitations in their efforts to effectively contain such blazes.

Narendra Singh Deputy Forest Officer, Lansdown forest division, maintained that the officials were keeping a close vigil on forest fire incidents but dry weather conditions were adding to the problem. Pine forests were more vulnerable as the trees there easily caught fire, he said.

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