India — Fire at different places of Madhupur forests in Tangail district is wreaking havoc on forest resources including its biodiversity for the last five days.
Local said the fire has already damaged about 300 acres of the forest.
The forest department sources, however, could not say anything specific about the damage caused by the fire.
The fire first appeared in Chunia area under Dokhala Range on March 10 when the divisional forest officer (DFO) in Tangail was visiting the forest. The forest guards, in presence of the DFO, extinguished the fire shortly.
A day later, fire broke out again at different points of the forests in Beribaid, Monarbaid, Gaichcha and Shahuria under the National Park Range and North Chunia and Pirgachha areas under Dokhala Range, local sources said.
The fire has continued spreading to fresh areas as grounds of Madhupur forest is now covered with dry leaves due to dry weather, witnesses said, adding that different animals are coming out in the locality for want of food following the fire.
Fire fighters have failed to extinguish the blaze, as they could not enter the forests with their vehicles, Madhupur Fire Service sources said. Besides, they are not getting sufficient water to douse the fire.
The fire for the last few days is causing huge damage to valuable and rare trees including herbal plants and creepers while forest wildlife including monkeys, baboons, hares, guisap, wild cocks, fishing cats, bagdas, jackals, snakes, bees and various other worms and birds are losing their dwelling places and food sources, sources said.
The panicked animals are running to different places to save lives. Locals hunted a few of them when they tried to take shelter at nearby villages.
Local sources have alleged that a syndicate of local influential quarters are involved in setting fire to grab forestlands.
Besides, stealing of forest trees becomes easier in such a situation, they said.
Additional watchers have been deployed at different places of the forest to prevent spread of the fire to new spots, Sharif Uddin Ahmed, assistant forest conservator in Madhupur, said, adding that they have filed four general diaries with Madhupur Police Station in connection with the fire incidents.
“Fire incidents at Madhupur forest is an usual matter during the beginning of spring season as dry weather prevails. The fire might have initiated due to throwing of burning remains of cigarettes by cowboys or bus passengers on Tangail-Mymensingh road that runs through the forest,” Asit Ranjan Pal, divisional forest officer in Tangail, said.
Claiming that forests guards have already extinguished fires at different spots and the shal forests have remained unharmed still now, he said, “We have arranged announcement through mikes in the areas to make people in forests and nearby villages aware about not throwing burning cigarettes or bidi to the forest grounds which are now covered with dry leaves.”