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    Uttarakhand witnessing unprecedented forest fires

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    Uttarakhand is witnessing unprecedented forest fires, that too in April when temperatures are yet to touch the maximum range, forest officials said. Higher temperatures generally trigger such fires.

    This time around, forest fires started in the winter months in many districts. Most hill districts like Nainital, Almora, Tehri and Pauri have come under the grip of raging forest fires.

    Compared to 172 hectares last year, over 1290 hectares of forest land got affected by forest fires this year. The state has reported over 39 new forest fire incidents in the last 48 hours, taking the number of such incidents this year to 983. Also, four human deaths and seven animal fatalities have been reported so far due to these forest fires.

    Forest fire activity is generally reported in Uttarakhand from February to June, with a peak in fire incidents in May and June.

    According to forest officials, apart from less rain in the winter months, due to the fear of epidemic and the lockdown, movement in the forests was restricted. Due to this, a lot of combustible material, mostly pine needles, got accumulated on the forest floor. These materials are cleared every year during control burning but it was affected over the past year, which is one of the reasons for the spike in forest fires.

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