A fresh forest fire has broken out two days ago in Panchachuli peaks, around 30 km from Munsyari in Pithoragarh district, prompting the forest department to send a team of experts to bring it under control.
The fire might have been ignited by poachers to force animals to run to upper reaches where they can be caught easily, a forest department official said on Sunday.
High altitude animals that are target of poachers include leopards, musk deer and ghurad. The fires have broken out in forest of Nagni dhura, Halsyu, Sai Polu, Raj Rambha and Khaliya in 20 km radius of Panchachuli.
Chief conservator, fire management, Prem Shankar Srivastava said he had spoken to the concerned DFO on the matter. “The DFO has informed me that the team has reached the treacherous terrain,” he said.
“It seems that the fire might have been started by poachers who are known to indulge into such procedures for catching wild animals,” said Srivastava.
Loveraj Pangti, the forest ranger, said it would take some time to douse the fire completely.
A similar fire had broken out a week ago in the area that has a fragile eco-system and bounded by glaciers. The Panchachuli base area lies at high altitude of 4,260 metres, while altitude of five peaks of Panchachuli 1-5 is 6,000 metres above sea level.
Between February and May, 1,700 forest fires have ravaged 4,000 hectares of forest land in Uttarakhand and claimed nine lives. Notably, 22 leopard skins were seized from poachers in the state this year.