Forest fire in W Ghats in TN, officials suspect foul play

Forest fire in W Ghats in TN, officials suspect foul play

14 July 2009

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India —

A forest fire has broken out in theWestern Ghats inTamil Nadu and has destroyed a large number of plants and trees.The blaze, which started onSunday in the forest area nearAthur Kamaraj Dam, about 100 km from here, has spread over five square km of theWestern Ghats inSembatty area in neighbouringDindigul district.

Forest officials initiated steps today to douse the fire, which according toAthur panchayat officials had intensified destroying trees, including very old ones, and herbal plants.

Though forest officials accompanied by a rescue team reached the area yesterday, the heat of the flames was so severe that they could not go near the spot.

A team of experts under a planned operation is trying to contain the blaze so that it does not spread further, officials said, adding it would be brought under control by this evening.

Officials suspect the hand of anti-social elements involved in felling trees and smuggling wood behind the fire.

The losses due to the incident are expected to run into several crores of rupees, Murugavelrajan, an official of the panchayat said.

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