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India uses helicopters to contain forest fires in western state

India uses helicopters to contain forest fires in western state
For over a week now, efforts underway to extinguish 'sporadic fires' reported in Goa state, say officials

By Ahmad Adil

​​​​​​​NEW DELHI (AA) – The Indian Air Force on Sunday said that it has intensified firefighting efforts in the western state of Goa, where "sporadic fires" have been reported and detected in various areas over a week.

The Indian Air Force said on Twitter that it is responding to fires with Mi-17 helicopters and dispensed over 25,000 liters of water over the affected areas on Saturday.

"Thus far, 47,000 liters of water have been dispensed by the Indian Air Force over the afflicted area," it added.

India's Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said the Indian Air Force helicopters have done a "remarkable job trying to douse the fires and saving the forest and related biodiversity."

According to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, "sporadic fires have been reported and detected in various areas of Goa, including forests, private areas, comunidades lands, plantations, revenue lands etc." since March 5.

Authorities have spotted 48 fires after reports from the field since March 5 till March 10, and field executives and other departments attended them, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It also said authorities "have been directed to conduct a detailed enquiry into each of the fire incidences which have occurred since March 5."

The ministry also said around the clock control room was established for real-time monitoring of the fire alerts generated by Forest Survey of India, a government monitor for land and forests.

Vishwajit Rane, Goa's forest minister, said as of 8 a.m. local time (0200GMT) on Sunday, seven fires were still burning, while over 450 people were deployed to fight the blazes, and 16 fires were extinguished as of Saturday.

Talking to Anadolu, Saurabh Kumar, a senior forest department official in Goa, said all efforts are being made to douse the fires reported in several places immediately. He said that the fire incidents are "exceptional," and the foremost priority is to put out the blazes.

According to the Forest Ministry statement, "it appears that the fires are mostly man-made in nature, cause of which may be inadvertent or otherwise, for which enquiry has been initiated and the spread has further been aided due to unprecedented high temperature and high winds."

"No major losses to floral and faunal diversity have been reported as yet," it added.

source: News Feed
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