Kochi, Kerala, India — The Forest Department has begun fire control measures in Thekkady and Vallakadavu areas that come under the Periyar Tiger Reserve. A forest fire broke out near Vanchuvayal colony in Vallakadavu on Friday destroying grasslands in nearly 10 hectares.
Though the exact reason for the fire was not ascertained, officials said that it could be a human-ignited fire.
As a large number of Sabarimala pilgrims traverse the route to reach the hill shrine and many of them opt to cook food on the pathways, there is the possibility of human intervention in causing fire, says the Forest Department.
Pilgrims from Kerala and neighbouring States have been using the Vallakadavu-Uppupara road that runs through the sanctuary. The cooking of food or performing of arathis using camphor might have triggered the forest fire.
A meeting of the forest officials held on Monday decided to complete the cutting of fire lines and implement other fire prevention measures before the rains start.
The clearing of undergrowth on the sides of the road has started so as to prevent accidental fire. Control burning of fire-prone areas for prevention of further fire has also been planned.
Firewatchers have also been deployed in the forest tract. Eco Development Committees have also been sensitised on forest fire, officials said.