As the fire broke out deep in the forest area of Trikuta hills reached near the Sanji Chhat helipad of the most revered shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, authorities on Monday suspended helicopter services as a precautionary measure.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board in Katra informed that the helicopter services will remain suspended from Monday morning due to strong winds and low visibility at Sanji Chhat helipad.
A fire reportedly broke out in the Trikuta forest range, the abode of the famous shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday evening.
Although there is no impact of fire on the shrine and the daily pilgrimage is going on smoothly, authorities have suspended helicopter services due to smoke in the area.
The fire started deep in the forest away from the revered shrine, causing massive damage to forest wealth, the officials said.
The cause of the fire was not known immediately but the fire incidents in the forests have witnessed a manifold increase amid heatwaves and scant rainfall this season.
Chopper services are suspended to ensure safety of pilgrims
Reports said that the fire that broke out near the helipad had been brought under control greatly, but smoke is still emanating from the areas. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has, thus, suspended the helicopter service till further control to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.
Surface fire on eastern side of Trikuta Hills being tackled as per SOP; Deployment of 15 teams for dousing, fire watchers & fire lines for containment and Preventive Water sprinkling along hill slopes. Yatra continues smoothly and safely with blessings of Mata Rani— Anshul Garg (@hello_anshul) May 15, 2022
Jai Mata Di ? pic.twitter.com/DGQdpmdVTJ
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board CEO Anshul Garg informed reporters that the fire erupted in the Trikuta forest range in Jammu's Reasi where the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is located.
600 men engage to control the fire from spreading
Reports said that a force of over 600 men from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Fire and Emergency Services, and Disaster Management Department has been pressed into service to control the spread of the fire.
Employees of the Forest Protection Forces are also engaged to assist those involved in fighting the devastating fire.