Forest fire in Kalesar national park puts animals at risk

Forest fire in Kalesar national park puts animals at risk

26 May 2015

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India —  YAMUNANAGAR: Fire incidents in the Kalesar national park in Yamunanagar district over the past week pose a risk to wild animals. Forest department officials are struggling to douse the flames to prevent deaths of animals in the state’s premier sanctuary due to the jungle fires. “In order to escape fire at various locations in the park, wild animals are moving towards the road area which puts them to greater risk,” said a resident living in vicinity of the national park.

A major fire broke out near Faizpur village of Haryana adjoining the road to Paonta Sahib on May 22 that spread to a large part of the forest. Forest fires during summers are not uncommon for which the forest department has to make contingency plans in advance to tackle the situation. Kalesar national park is spread over 100 sq km. The forest department has only 80 workers (local labourers) for fire fighting. Apart from that the department has one fire tender and five water tankers. “Although staff uses all the available equipment to douse fires, but arrangements falls short given the huge area of the national park,” said sources.

The park has large number of wild animals and it is the rehabilitation centre of elephants. “We apply different methods to douse the fire that are effective. Even in the fresh incident of a major fire we have succeeded in controlling to a large extent,” Yamunanagar district forest officer Rajpal Dhankar told TOI.

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