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Fires Afflict Garhwal

EARLIER this year Mussoorie residents faced a spate of natural disasters including fires and earthquakes.

Acres of land were incinerated in and around Woodstock School and in neighbouring villages when fires threatened the region.

At Woodstock in April, fires were fought at Cozy Comer, Palisades (just below the school gate) and below Midlands girls dorm.

Staff and students formed human chains to ferry the water to the concentrated fire areas. Others beat the fires with rakes to subdue the flames. Fire lines-were also made to prevent the spread of fires into populated areas.

Another forest fire started near the Bitaudi village when the villagers set up a fire to keep the bears away. A group of students chaperoned by Mr Crider volunteered to fight the fire.

Senior Nirwan Motwani said, "We left at 5am to fight the fire ... the fire was so huge and we could not get close to it.

"We had no control over the fire, all we could do was prevent it from spreading by digging trenches."

The fires were finally quelled by the pre-monsoon rains which arrived on May 4th. It had not rained since February l2th, making this last summer one of the longest and hottest in recent history. The rhododendrons on south-facing hills bloomed twice, once in February, and once again in June. However, a normal monsoon has helped the vegetation to recover.

Nishank Motwani (Gr. 12) fighting fires near dorms
Photo above: Nishank Motwani (Gr. 12)
fighting fires near dorms.
Fires threatened Mussoorie in April this year
Photo above: Fires threatened Mussoorie in
April this year. Fire engulfs this tree below
New Road. Photos by Seth Whitten.

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