Kozhikode: The drought-stricken Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary received four German and four Italian-made modern fire-fighting equipment to face the threat of wildfire in the neighbouring Bandipur national park in Karnataka and Muthumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
Wayanad wildlife warden P. Dhanesh Kumar told DC that the frontline field staff who used to snuff out wildfires with leafy branches and fire-beaters have been demanding such equipment for the last many years. “The fire-beater, an iron rod with rubber sheets at the tip, was developed by WWS in 2010,” he said. “The instruments are of two types, water blowers and wind blowers. “Both are very helpful,” Mr Kumar said and added that the air blower was ideal for creating firelines by blowing out fallen leaves and creating counterfire by blowing into the fire creating an opposite fire against the wind.
The instrument can be operated from a distance of three to five metres from the fire. Each forest range of WWS will get a pair of wind and water blowers.
It may be recalled that one forest official was killed and five others were injured, one of them seriously, during the fire-fighting in the Bandipur park in early February.
The WWS has employed 138 fire-watchers apart from department staff constituting nine fire gangs, operating from 22 temporary tree top huts in the jungle. Five permanent watch towers and 25 anti-poaching camps also were utilised for coordinating the firefighting. Despite wild fires consuming more than 20,000 hectares of forest in the Bandipur national park, the WWS is the lone safe place left for animals.