Underground fire triggers panic in UP district

Underground fire triggers panic in UP district

Hundreds of people from Bela Pahada and other nearby villages have been flocking the area to witness the billowing smoke. (PTI Photo)

The residents of Bela Pahada village in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district, about 130 kms from here, were shocked when they saw smoke billowing from the dry surface near a forested area a few days back.

The smoke gradually spread over to other areas in and around the forest, triggering panic among the residents.

Local forest officials attributed the smoke to an underground fire but they differed on what might have caused the fire beneath the surface.

A local official said that often, the dry leaves and unproductive grass were burnt by the forest department and since the area was boggy and marshy, there was a possibility that the roots were still burning.

''This may account for the smoke,'' he said.

Another official said that prima facie it did not seem to be ''dangerous''. ''We are monitoring the situation we have sought services of the experts to ascertain the reasons behind the underground fire,'' remarked another senior official in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Sources said that the people had been advised not go near the smoke.

Hundreds of people from Bela Pahada and other nearby villages have been flocking the area to witness the billowing smoke. ''We had never seen anything like that,'' said an elderly resident of the village.  

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