Forest fires wreak havoc in areas near LOC in Poonch

Vishal Sharma

The Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir is under heavy forest fire from the last couple of days endangering the lives of the people living across the belt.

Not only Poonch, the forest fire has even affected the Rajouri and Bhadrwah districts also where it erupted on the intervening night of June 7 at Thaleela Forest in Chirala Range of Bhadarwah Forest Division and at Kalal village in Naoshera sector of Rajouri district on 6 June where it engulfed the eastern periphery of the village.

The fire last night turned more devastating in the Poonch as it reached near the residential areas and civilian hamlets in the Balnoi sector. Reports said that the fire erupted from another side of LoC late night reached near the Shingri village of the sector which was brought under control by the locals after the overnight hard efforts.

Reports further said that the forest fire which has engulfed the entire 25 kilometer forward area from Balnoi to Balakot sector has triggered landmine explosions with some damage to fencing also. Presently the major fire is in the Panjani and Tarkundi forward areas where as the entire 25 kilometer long stretch is under partial forest fire.

In Bhaderwah the forest fire had engulfed the Compartment 24 of the block and range Chirala late last evening which was partially controlled after the hard efforts by Seluths of Territorial Forest Division Bhadarwah, Forest Protection Force and some locals from upper Thaleela village.

But reportedly the fire is still going on in some of the areas and could spread with the fast blowing air and winds. While in Rajouri district the spread of forest fire was observed at Kalal village of Nowshera tehsil on 6 June. The fire had spread along the eastern periphery of the village in mild bushes and trees near the agricultural fields.

The sudden eruption of forest fire triggered a sense of Panic in the area and the villagers reported same to the Army at Kalal. A team from the Army along with water bowser and firefighting equipment rushed to the area and carried out firefighting operations and the timely action prevented major damage to men, material and cultivated land of villagers.



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