KOCHI: It was a challenging day for 27-year-old S Ramya on February 8, 2020. A wildfire was raging over the hills and the rocky terrain made it difficult for her to reach the summit. The sky was clear and blue with no trace of clouds. The fire was spreading fast and there was no scope of bringing in fire tenders to douse the fire. With smoke all around, Ramya and her team of forest guards had to suffer burning eyes, exhaustion and breathing problems while putting out the fire. However, they managed to control the blaze by evening.
Ramya, a native of Chavara in Kollam district, assumed charge as Mullaringad Forest Range Officer on August 22, 2019. Six months of experience has made her a seasoned forest officer. Regular night patrols and forest camps have transformed her into a gritty officer. “Mullaringad is a territorial range free of wild elephants. But it helps me gain experience. There were three incidents of wildfire in February and it was a big experience,” said Ramya.
Like any other student, Ramya wanted to join the medical profession while preparing for the entrance examination. However, she got selected for the BSc Forestry course.
“I never dreamt of a job like this. But once I started trekking and participating in forest camps, I started enjoying it. I cleared the PSC examination for range officers in 2016 and underwent training at the State Forest Service College in Coimbatore under the Ministry of Environment and Forest,” said Ramya.
After joining service, Ramya underwent field training at Munnar, Devikulam and Kuttampuzha forest area, where she patrolled the forest along with forest guards and camped inside the forest.
“Once I was chased by a wild elephant when I visited Kuttampuzha forest area. But now I am confident of handling any situation as I have been trekking the forest for the past nine years,” she said.