Fire at Bandipur tiger reserve rages on
Even though forest officials managed to douse the flames that had spread to the forest fringes on Friday night, a new fire, again, expected to have been started by vandals in the area engulfed vast tracts of the forests.Updated: Feb 23, 2019 23:36 IST
More than 1,500 hectares of the Bandipur tiger reserve, spread across the Kundakere, Bandipur and Gopalaswamy Betta ranges, were engulfed in flames, with strong winds helping the fire spread out of control.
Even though forest officials managed to douse the flames that had spread to the forest fringes on Friday night, a new fire, again, expected to have been started by vandals in the area engulfed vast tracts of the forests.
Over 100 forest workers, as well as local villagers, have been attempting to douse the flames.
“Our staff has been working day and night to put out the flames but the strong winds are making our efforts futile. We hope the conditions improve soon so that we can put out the blaze. This is a ground fire though and there is no risk of it spreading uncontrollably outside these ranges,” said C Jayaram, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), state forest department.
However, reports said the fire on Saturday evening spread to the core area of the tiger reserve.
“The fire has spread to the reserve’s border with Kerala’s Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. The entire tourism area in Bandipur is gutted and burnt to a cinder. We’re also afraid the fire will be causing heavy damage to the tiger reserve’s flora and fauna,”said Bangalore-based wildlife activist, Joseph Hoover.
Officials expect that it will take at least two more days to douse the flames entirely. The fire in Bandipur is among the worst the region has seen in recent times. The 874-sqkm reserve has seenmany forest fires, both minor and major in recent times with almost all of them being caused by manmade interference.
First Published: Feb 23, 2019 23:36 IST