India — Everyone should be thankful to this one mans presence of mind. On February 26, the forest fire, which appeared in Nagarahole would have never been brought under control without Vasanth, a 45-year old forest watcher. Hailing from a small haadi nearby, Vasanth was absorbed by the forest department to identify forest fire and this time he has done his duty most efficiently.
The forest fire was so intense that in just four days 509 hectare of forest land was reduced to ashes, which amounts to five per cent of total Nagarahole Forest region. That day, if Vasanth had neglected the signs, the incident would have engulfed large areas of forest killing both flora and fauna.
Accompanying reporters to the tallest watch tower in Nagarahole, Vasanth recalls the day and says that the breeze was very strong, hence standing on the watch tower was rather difficult.
At about 2.15 pm, I spotted thick smoke near Hesarugadde. That was forest fire. I immediately sent alert message over walkie-talkie. The fire within no time started spreading. Turbulent breeze added to the problem, he said adding that the canes which caught fire started burning with small explosions.
The forest officials, with the help of the people from Haadi created fire line. I have lived in these forests. In all these years I have not seen this kind of forest fire. After four long days of hard work, the fire has come under control today, he said.
When asked about the reason for this forest fire, Vasanth is on his guards. After some reluctance, he says: This forest fire is not natural, instead it is man made