Forest fire in Trikuta hills, near Mata Vaishno Devi, in Katra town of Reasi district. Air Force on Wednesday pressed into service two MI-17 helicopters to douse the blaze. The yatra was affected as the chopper service remained suspended, but now the fire at several places has been contained so the service was re-started. Following the massive fire that spread to several areas, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board requested the Air Force to help douse the fire.
"At around 6:30 am on Tuesday, Air Force Station Udhampur received a distress call from Shrine Board requesting help to douse the fire. Two MI-17 helicopters were pressed into service to lift water from Reasi Dam to be sprinkled on areas engulfed by the forest fire", a defence spokesman said.
He said the two MI-17 helicopters have been continuously making sorties and lifting water to douse the fire.
"With the help of the Air Force, we have been able to extinguish the fire to a great extent. Barring few far off areas, the fire has been controlled in most of the areas on Trikuta hills", the SSP said. He said no loss of life or property was reported due to the forest fire.