KOZHIKODE: Lack of modern firefighting equipment puts forest staff dousing blazes in dire straits. An iron rod with pieces of rubber sheet tied to it is the lone "firefighting tool" extinguish a fire that rages up to 60 feet. Activist N. Badusha says they use crude methods as the aborigines fought centuries ago. “It's high time the forest department ensured water blowers, helicopters and fire extinguishers,” he said.
The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is facing the wildfire threat from the adjacent Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu. He said they should learn from the Theni tragedy. "They should avoid tourists camping in the interiors Parambikulam and Periyar Tiger Reserve,” he said.
“Some 60 eco-tourism centres in the forest regions should be shut during summer.” Kozhikode divisional forest officer K.K. Sunilkumar said the fire beater, an iron rod with rubber sheets at the tip, was developed by WWS in 2010. “But the traditional methods like counter fire and beating with the bush are the common methods,” he told DC. The WWS had purchased a limited number of blowers last year. In February last year, one forest official got killed and five others injured, one of them seriously, during firefighting in the Bandipur National Park.