India — UDHAGAMANDALAM: A major forest fire broke out in the Singara range in the north division of the Nilgiris on Saturday, ravaging several acres of forest land. Due to the prevailing strong wind in the Nilgiris hills, the fire spread quickly along the Singara range slope.
“We are still fighting the fire,” S Ramasubramanian, District Forest Officer (North Division) told TOI late Saturday evening. “The forces will work through the night to douse the fire”, he added.
About 40 fire fighters, including 15 local tribal men, are engaged in the task of dousing the blaze.
According to an eyewitness, the fire has spread over at least 1,000 acres of forests. “The fire that broke in the Bokkapuram slopes, near Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, on Thursday, may be the cause of the fire spreading across the Singara slopes,” he said. “The burning area is a teak forest with dry lemon grass ground. Oil content in the teak tree also favours the fire to spread out rapidly,” said the eyewitness. According to sources, fire started at around 10am.
“The extent of damage on the forest land is massive and will be assessed after the fire is put off,” said Ramasubramanian. According to him, some miscreants may have caused the fire. Thick smoke and the hilly terrain are making the operations difficult for the fire fighters.
In the meantime, another fire broke out in the ‘gene pool’ area in the Gudalur division of forests in the Nilgiris on Saturday. According to officials, fire fighters are putting out the fire in that area as well.