Dehradun: IAF helicopters on Monday began firefighting operations in Uttarakhand, conducting several sorties over the burning forests in Garhwal region of the state to spray water over the raging flames and extinguish them.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter with a bucket carrying around 3,500 litres of water from Tehri lake was deployed to douse the forest fire in Gaja, Pokhri and Quili in the district, said Narendra Nagar DFO and the nodal officer of the campaign D S Meena.

The helicopter has made four sorties so far to extinguish the fires in these forests located in Narendra Nagar area of the district, he said.

Similar sorties will also be conducted by the IAF helicopter on Tuesday to pour water over the burning forests of Thauldhar block of the district, Tehri DFO Koko Rose said.

Boating activities in the Tehri lake were kept suspended during the day so that the IAF helicopter can collect water from the lake in an uninterrupted way.

Meanwhile, another IAF helicopter stationed in Kumaon for the purpose could not undertake sorties due to low visibility caused by a thick cover of smoke emanating from the smouldering forests, Kumaon DFO Tejaswini Patil Dhakate said.

There are 40 active fire spots in the forests of Garhwal and Kumaon regions with Nainital, Almora, Tehri and Pauri districts being the worst-hit, forest officials said.

Since January this year, there have been 983 incidents of forest fire in the state affecting 1,292 hectares of land, they said.

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