The students of a well-known boarding school in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh were evacuated on Monday after the raging forest fire from neighbouring Uttarakhand spread and engulfed the area.
Fire engines were rushed to the premises of the Pinegrove School to control the blaze even as panic-stricken children were being taken out.
Lawrence school in Kasauli which is 5 km from Pinegrove school was also affected and students were evacuated.
â€śThe fire broke out in forests in Kasauli areas and forests surrounding the Sanawar School were also affected but the school complex was fully safe and fires have been extinguishedâ€ť, said Rakesh Kanwar, deputy commissioner, Solan.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh blamed the searing heat for the forest fire.
â€śIt is nothing new. Fire break out in forest areas is due to rise in temperature,â€ť Singh told reporters in Rampur on Sunday.
Officials reported that more than 3000 hectares of vegetation have been wiped out as a result of more than 350 incidents of forest fires in the state.
â€śThe sudden rise in mercury and the prolonged dry spell are mainly the reasons for these forest fires. Most of the fire-related cases are from the Shivalik ranges in Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Solan and Sirmaur districts and a majority of them are ground fires,â€ť principal chief forest conservator S P Vasudeva told IANS.
A majority of the pine forests in the state are vulnerable to fires as the trees shed pine needles that catch fire easily due to the high content of turpentine oil.
â€śI think 50-60 hectares of area is affected ... Several incidents of fire from different areas have been reported after a rise in temperature,â€ť Shimla divisional forest officer (DFO) Raman Sharma told ANI.
This is an aggregated report from Hindustan Times.
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