Forest fire rages in Bandipur range

Over 500 staffers have been deployed to douse the fire.

Chamarajanagar: A forest fire set by some miscreants at the Gopalaswamy Betta (GS Betta) range attached to the Bandipur National Park has devastated large tracts of forest area, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

The forest fire started at the GS Betta range on Friday afternoon continued to rage on Saturday too, with forest officials struggling to stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring areas.

Sources in Bandipur told Deccan Chronicle that the fire spread to parts of Bandipur range on Saturday. Fire fighting has been made difficult by gusty winds blowing across the Park. “Numerous trees in GS Betta have been destroyed,” said a guard involved in fighting the fire.

GS Betta Range Forest Officer Puttaswamy said, “It is a man made fire and controlling it has been difficult as it is a hilly terrain. Also, grass growth and lantana have fuelled the blaze.”

Villagers on the edge of the forest light such fires during summer to get back at the forest department, a conservationist said. “Forest officials try to enforce forest rules much to the dislike of villagers. When cases are booked against the villagers, they hit back at the forest department by resorting to arson,” he said.

Bandipur National Park Director Ambady Madhav said that the extent of loss to the flora will be assessed after the fire is extinguished. Over 500 staffers have been deployed to douse the fire.

He said that a forest fire in the Kundakere range, which raged a couple of days ago, has been brought under control.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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