India– A major fire broke out in Nagarhole National Park on Sunday destroying over 500 acres of vegetation. Fire was noticed at Nagarhole, Metikuppe and Balle forest ranges, but luckily no wild animals were killed.
PCCF (Wildlife) B.K. Singh told this newspaper that some vested interest groups within the tribal community may have started the fires.
In fact, in Metikuppe, forest guards saw two people triggering a fire and were chased, but the accused managed to escape.
We are yet to ascertain the extent of damage, he said, but unofficial estimates say over 500 acres have been wiped out. Mr Singh said the fires in Metikuppe and Balle were minor and were doused immediately, but extensive damage has taken place in Nagarhole forest range.
Around 60 personnel, including foresters and fire fighters, were deployed to control the fire. Since, the entire bamboo vegetation has dried out, the fire spread very fast making it difficult to control it, Mr Singh said. The phenomenon, witnessed every year, destroys flora and fauna in vast tracts of the forest area.
It has not rained in Nagarhole for nearly three months and most parts have gone dry.
Dry weather due to absence of moisture in the air causes the fire spread rapidly.
The department was doing its best to contain the wild fires, Nagarhole DCF Vijay Ranjan Singh said.