CHIKKAMAGALURU : Hundreds of acres of forest area in Chandra Drona hill range of Churchegudda reserves have burnt to cinders due to forest fire. The fire along the hills and its intensity can be sighted from the city during night. Due to rapid spreading of fire, wild animals are running helter skelter for cover. An incapacitated reindeer, in its bid to escape from the fire, died near Honnammanahalla falls. It is suspected that a large number of wild animals and reptiles might have died in the fire. Water bodies in the Shola pastures are likely to dry in the wake of the incident.
Wildlife activist Veeresh points fingers at the Forest department, which according to him should have taken preventive measures in summer by deploying sufficient number of firefighting squads and watchers. The greens and the general public have urged the forest department to camp range forest officers of Muttodi, Chikkamagaluru, Kadur and Mudigere in the affected areas and make efforts to bring the fire under control.
DCFO HR Kumar, incharge of the regional forest division, told The New Indian Express that all measures are taken to protect Sholas and control the flames in the Mullayanagiri range but dried grass in the slopes is making the job difficult. “As many as 89 staff including the 11 anti-poaching camps and forest officials are positioned in the area and necessary vehicle facility is provided to reach sensitive points.
Fire is also seen in the forest of Alekhan Horatti in Mudigere taluk. However, bamboo forests in the Kamenahaly region is posing problem.” he said. Kumar cited the reason of revenue land forest area on the fringes of forests as the culprits for fire in Kamenahally. “Some coffee estates owners, in their bid to protect plantations, are lighting fire in the forest adjoining estates,” he added.