Hyderabad: Fires popping up across forest reserves

People to be restricted from protected areas like tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries.

Hyderabad: With fires popping up in the state’s forests with increasing frequency in the past month, including in protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves, the forest department has announced restrictions on entry of people into the forests.

One of the decisions taken, it was learnt, was not to allow pilgrims to trek through the Amrabad tiger reserve in Telangana state to the Srisailam temple town in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh for attending the Maha Shivaratri festival.

Pilgrims and others have been urged to follow instructions of department officials in the tiger reserve. People trekking to Srisailam from Mannanur that marks the beginning of the tiger reserve must stay on the road and not take any path through the forest, the department said. Incidentally, on Saturday, updates from the Forest Survey of India that sends fire alerts across the country using satellite imagery, said Telangana state had 31 active fires in different districts. Of these, four were in Amr-abad tiger reserve. The state recorded 15 fires on February 13 and nine on February 5, with at least one fire being reported from the state’s forests daily for the past month or so. Of the total 9,771 forest ‘compartments’ spread over 43 ranges, 1,106 have are designated high fire risk areas.

Special additional patr-olling is being put in place in the Amrabad and Kawal tiger reserves to prevent forest fires, the department said. Officials said quick response teams were set up to control forest fires.

Every year, tens of thousands pilgrims from Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra walk to Srisailam from Mannanur through the forest and take the interior paths.

The number of forest fires in the tiger reserve typically jump during this period with people cooking food in the forest or sometimes deliberately setting fire along the paths they walk to create open areas and to ward off wild animals.

The reserve is home to 20 tigers, about 100 leopards, a large number of dholes or Indian wild dogs, sloth bears and a variety of deer among other wildlife.

Next Story