India — A massive fire destroyed 40 odd hectares of the jungle on the border of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Moharli (territorial) forest range on Monday night. The huge flames could be seen from a distance of 8-10 km. There’s been no human or animal casualty.
The area is on the hills between Sitarampeth and Kondegaon. Villagers feared the fire would spread down hill towards the hamlet. Many, including members of joint forest management committee, took part in the dousing operation which was undertaken by forest officials on a war-footing. Misunderstanding and lack of coordination between the villagers and forest officials affected the process to some extent.
While forest officials tried to down play the magnitude of the fire, villagers blamed them and demanded measures to detect and control fires. “Around 60-70 staffers and villagers brought the fire under control,” forest officials told TOI. “We saw a forest guard and a round officer lighting a fire,” said a villager. Later, the forest officers clarfied. They said, “It was a misunderstanding. The guard and the forester were igniting a counter fire. “