Fire in Bandipur Forest

A major fire in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve that began on Thursday, February 21 st , has now spread to an area of over 8 km. Five days since the fire started in Barekatte and Guddakare regions of the reserve, thousands of acres of forest land have been damaged apart from loss of flora and fauna.
Hundreds of forest department officials along with local volunteers have been trying to douse the fire. However, strong winds and dry grass have aided the fire to spread towards the roads on National Highway 67.

NH 67, which connects Ooty to Mysore had to be closed for vehicles, as a result. The forest department has put a ban on forest safaris as a precautionary measure. Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said, “We are closely monitoring the forest fire in Bandipur. The forest minister is overseeing the situation, while officials and fire service personnel are trying to contain the blaze. I have instructed officials to also take preventive measures.”

Forest minister Satish Jarkiholi has paid a visit to the affected area.  Hanumatha Kumar, fire department supervisor, said the fact that the fire is spreading from different parts of the reserve also raises suspicion on whether it was an act of sabotage. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve covers an area of 87,400 hectares and along with the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nagarahole National Park form one of India's ecologically diverse regions. It is home to vulnerable species like elephants, gaurs, tigers and Indian rock
pythons.

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