Forest fire in north of India spreads to 10 hectares

Forests catch fire as temperatures rise and dry spells prolonge in India's northern Himachal Pradesh state.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

An Indonesian soldier drags a hose while fighting a peatland fire in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra province on the island of Sumatra September 30, 2015. File picture.

A massive fire broke out in a forest in Shimla city of India's northern Himachal Pradesh state on Monday, engulfing almost 10 hectares within hours.

The fire broke out late night in the forest near old barrier cemetery area on the outskirts of the city.

"I noticed the fire in the forest and called up the forest personnel and the fire fighters after which the fire has been somewhat controlled," said a resident, Mohammad Gulfam.

Workers were seen trying to put out fire manually using tree branches.

People are concerned as the forest has a residential area on one side and a mental hospital on the other.

Local Forest Officer, Shimla (Urban), Ranbir Kanwar, said that the cause of the fire was not clear yet.

"We will be filing an FIR in the matter tomorrow morning. We will investigate to find out the cause of the fire, for now we cannot say what caused the fire," said Kanwar.

Northern India is reeling under severe heat with temperatures rising in excess of 45 degree Celsius in many parts.

Rising temperatures and prolonged dry spells make forests more vulnerable to catching fire.

Even northern Uttarakhand state is fighting a massive forest blaze since days now. Tens of thousands of firemen along with teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Indian Air Force have been deployed to douse the fire.

TRTWorld, Reuters