India — A major fire raged Wenlockdown reserve forest near Ooty in Nilgiris on Monday, destroying at least 10 hectares of forest land. Several fire fighters battled the jungle blaze. It is unknown if any animal was trapped in the fire.
“At least 10 hectares of forests were engulfed in the fire,” Arurag Misra, district forest officer (south) told TOI. Exotic trees like pine and eucalyptus and shrubs were destroyed in the fire, the official said. Misra suspected that the fire was man made and he said that investigations are on.
Forest fire fighters cut fire breaks or lines by completely removing the vegetation along linear stretches to prevent the spread of fire. They also artificially set off counter-fire to suppress the intensity of the blaze.
Every February and March, as summer sets in the Western Ghats and vegetation turns dry, forest fires break out frequently, destroying jungle tracts. But most fires are man-made, triggered by locals or passing tourists and truck drivers who carelessly throw live cigarette butts in the forest land.
Last month, a major fire raged in the Mudumalai Tiger reserve in Nilgiris and the neighbouring Bandhipur sanctuary in Karnataka, destroying at least 30 hectares acres of forest land.