Forest fire sends temperature above 40 degrees in Orissa (Lead)

February 26th, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (IANS) A major forest fire that broke out near the Orissa capital has increased maximum temperature to above 40 degrees in some parts of the coastal state, forcing the authorities Thursday to ensure adequate supply of drinking water and to keep medical staff on alert.
According to the met department, the maximum temperature in Bhubaneswar Wednesday was recorded at 40.4 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above average for this time of the year.

“A major fire broke out some 20 km from Bhubaneswar Wednesday which has increased the temperature in surrounding areas. The cause of fire is not known and has been brought under control,” Bhubaneswar met department director L.D.P Roy told IANS.

According to the met department besides fire south-westerly wind blowing over the state has also led to the sharp increase in the temperature.

“This winter was generally warm compared to the last year. January was the warmest in the last 127 years. The warm winter can be attributed to couple of factors like less fog during winter, no rainfall and not enough clouding in the skies,” Roy added.

The Orrisa government has issued an alert in the state and district administration has been asked to take adequate measure to deal with any emergency situation.

“The state government has alerted all district collectors. They have been asked to take measures to provide drinking water, adequate shelters and keep adequate stock of medicines and prepare medical staff to provide healthcare,” Manoranjan Chaudhuri, officer on special duty at the state revenue control room here, told IANS.

The maximum temperature in the nearby town of Cuttack was 39.1 degrees Celsius, while in four other towns - Chandbali, Bolangir, Malkangiri and Baripada - it was 38 degrees, a met official said.

In February, the highest temperature recorded here earlier was 42.7 degrees Celsius in 1963. The record temperature recorded in the state was 50.1 degrees at Titilagarh in June 2003.

A heat wave in Orissa in May 1998 killed over 2,000 people.

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