Thousands battle deadly Indian fires

An Indian villager woman sits with her bucket near a dried up water pond at Padal village of Samba district, Kashmir, on 27 April 2016Image copyright

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Some have linked the fires to droughts affecting large parts of India

Thousands of people are battling deadly forest fires in India’s northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.

At least two people have died in the fires, which have torched more than 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres) of forest, officials said.

The fires broke out a month ago, but have intensified in recent days. There are now 1,200 separate areas on fire.

“This can be compared with the worst fire of 2012,” said Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The fires have not yet hit towns in the Himalayan state, which attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year.

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The Indian Air Force has used helicopters to help douse the flames, although low visibility caused by smoke has limited their deployment, local media reported.

The fires come as India suffers one of its worst droughts in years. The government says 330 million are now affected by water shortages.

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