India — The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is getting ready to prevent and tackle wildfires which may start in the summer. The sanctuary, which houses elephants, tigers, Indian gaurs and ungulates have an area of 492 sqkm. Detailing the fire protection measures to The Times of India, wildlife wing deputy conservator of forests D S Goankar said the sanctuary will be closed for tourists and visitors from January 15.
Explaining the measures being taken to tackle wildfire if and when it occurs, he said they have conducted public meeting for villagers abutting the sanctuary, while NGOs came forward and explained the impact of fire on the flora and fauna of the sanctuary and measures to contain the fire.
He said there are no natural fires in Indian forests and all the fires are man-made. Hence, creating awareness among the people residing beside the sanctuary must be taken into the confidence to avoid fire.
The wildlife division has already started creating fire lines on either side of the roads to prevent fires and contain it quickly if it starts. All inside roads of the sanctuary will be manned during the peak summer months. Fire protection camps and identification points have been formed at vulnerable spots.
CHIKMAGALUR: The officials have decided to take private jeeps for hire during summer to access areas hit by wildfires. Each fire protection camp will comprise 10 members to tackle fire, with two staff for the identification points.
Staff at all the four ranges of the sanctuary have been asked to stay on the alert. Each range has been provided with three-eight fire protection camps and at least three fire identification points. Forest officials have cleared 160km roads on the fringes and are forming a 194 km fire line in and around the sanctuary.
Goankar said that from this year onwards, staff or camps which contain fires effectively will be awarded.