IAF helps contain fire in Bandipur, Over 10,000 acres devoured

Bengaluru: The forest fire that had been raging since last week in the Bandipur Tiger reserve was at last doused with the help of Indian Air Force helicopters yesterday. The forest department has started a probe to find what caused the fire, extent of damage and measures to breathe life into the affected areas.

According to media reports, the fire, which burnt nearly 2,000 hectares of forest land, was brought under total control after the choppers started dumping gallons of water from a nearby reservoir.

The blaze was first spotted on 21 February and since then efforts were on to contain it. Forest officials and fire service personnel along with hundreds of volunteers made a vain bid to douse the blaze over the past few days. Karnataka Chief Minister sought the help of the IAF after which the choppers were pressed into service.

State Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Punati Sridhar said, “The wind was quite calm and the IAF choppers too contributed in controlling the fire. Our foresters and volunteers too toiled hard to control the fire.. The damage to the wildlife is zero as they all had moved to greener pasture. Most of the trees are intact. Mostly the grass were burnt.

The forest department officials have been asked to remain vigilant as the fire could be smouldering in some areas. The ranges that were mostly affected were Gopalaswamy Betta Range, Kundakere and Bandipur. The forest department plans to sow bamboo seeds for the forest to regrow.

Indian Space Research Organisation has submitted an assessment report which suggests that approximately 10,920.92 acres were devoured and that most of the damage happened on 24 and 25 February.

NT Bureau