Believe it or not. The fire that broke out in the forest under Chitrakonda range in Malkangiri last month is still spreading to nearby forest areas. Though more than one month has passed, the forest department authorities have failed to douse the flames that engulfed large portions in the jungle. Adding to the woes of climatic change due to large-scale deforestation, the forest department in Malkangiri has failed to protest the lush greenery of Chitrakonda-Balimela forest.Maoist fear stalks the authorities, who dare not stray into the forest to put off the fire. Besides, lack of adequate staff among other problems forced the forest department authorities not to venture into the woods to douse the flames. Chitrakonda-Balimela forest which is dominated by the red rebels is also the home to countless wild animals, besides having groves of precious trees. As per an estimate, valuable teak and other medicinal plants in hundred acres of land have been gutted in the forest fire. The fire has also doubled the problems of the people living close to the forest. The fire has also led to the rise in temperature, at a time when the people are already gruelling under the scorching sun.