Drone to keep vigil over Bandipur National Park during summer

Already, Bandipur recorded a forest fire at Kekkanahalla bordering Mudumalai National Park about a month ago.

Chamarajanagar : Bandipur National Park officials have sent a proposal to the government for an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) to keep tabs on wildfires. They also intend to issue a warning to villagers on the periphery of the forests that any mischievous acts of setting forest on fire will be caught on camera and their movements in and out of forests will be monitored from drones.

“We have sought a drone for Bandipur,” confirmed its director Ambady Madhav to Deccan Chronicle on Wednesday. He said that one drone should be enough to guard Bandipur’s 13 ranges and areas like Gopalaswamy Betta, Kundkere, Moleyur and Hediyala are most vulnerable to wildfires during summer. A drone hovering over ranges should keep villagers at a distance from indulging in any mischief, like setting forest on fires, he said. A couple of years ago, Kalkere range was devastated by a forest fire in which a forest guard, Murugeppa, died of burns, while four others sustained injuries while dousing fire.

Already, Bandipur recorded a forest fire at Kekkanahalla bordering Mudumalai National Park about a month ago. “It took two days to douse the fire,” said a source in Bandipur.

Joining hands with Bandipur Park officials, Chamarajanagar fire and emergency services men recently conducted a series of awareness programmes for Bandipur personnel on steps to tackle forest fires.

Chamarajanagar Fire Officer Naveen Kumar said that quick response vehicles which are sleeker in design will be deputed at Bandipur for easy access to fire points and the QRVs will be handed over to Bandipur in the next couple of days. Mr Kumar said that in the last few years, because of preventive measures, forest fires in Bandipur have been controlled and even this year, Bandipur Park officials have completed fire line among other preventive measures.

In addition, night-vision cameras will be installed at specified points commonly used by villagers to enter forests and these camera images will be assessed in case of a forest fire in a particular location to monitor who entered the forests on that particular day.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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