A massive fire broke out in a forest in Jammu and Kashmir's Bhadarwah on Sunday.
Locals said that the situation was out of control as the fire was spreading rapidly since yesterday and has already engulfed 3 km area from village Malnai to Pranu, adding that residents are trying their best but were finding it difficult to contain the fire as no forest officials came to extinguish the fire till now.
According to reports, continuous massive forest fire that started yesterday in Keller Range of Forest Division (FD) Bhadarwah has reportedly destroyed hundreds of kail saplings beside various shrubs and herbs converted into ashes.
The Forest fire that engulfed Compartment No 1 in Block Ghuraka of Keller Rage since yesterday, damaged hundreds of Kail trees beside young saplings but unfortunately the department remained unmoved even after dozens of calls from the locals.
Local villagers alleged some foul play by the forest officials and maintained that the forest fire could be an insider job so as to hide the proof of illegal felling of trees in the forest division and perhaps to facilitate the marking of dry and fallen trees for departmental extraction as Supreme Court has put a blanket ban on green felling.
"We along with our family members and hired labourers are working hard to control the fire since yesterday, but it is difficult to do so as no fire tenders reached here," locals said.
A villager Bashir Ahmed alleged that despite calling Forest officials, they always make lame excuses. Now, we are trying to douse the fire, but it's spreading very fast in the forest.
Another villager Khushi Mohd, Retd Naib Tehsildar, who along with his five family members is trying to douse the fire said that despite calling the officials several times, no one is serious to control the fire, which shows their careless and pathetic attitude.
"Forest fire is going-on in Compartment 1 in our village since yesterday but Forest officials have not reached here yet, we are trying to douse the fire but we can't control it without having proper equipment,"he added.
When contacted Conservator Forest Chenab Cirle, Satpaul Pakhru said, "i will ask DFO, who is also holding the charge of Dy Director Forest Protection Force(FPF), to immediately send a team to control the fire."
Meanwhile, DFO Bhadarwah Chander Shaker claimed that Range Officer, Kellar range informed him that his men are on the job since yesterday and have managed to control the fire.