GADAG: Incidents of forest fires in Kappatagudda are on the rise after the hillock was declared a wildlife sanctuary a few years ago. The forest department has registered 15 such cases in the past three months and more than 200 hectares of the area have been reduced to ashes.
A part of the hillock was ablaze on Sunday. The fires in the hillock are not new but earlier, they weren’t frequent. After the area got the sanctuary status, such incidents increased in Doni, Mundargi and Shirahatti hillock areas. The forest department is facing a staff crunch, hence they take help from villagers.
The department has registered 14 cases against miscreants and one against a private windmill company. Wildlife lovers are asking the department to reveal the names of the accused as the fire has damaged flora and poses a threat to the fauna in the hillock. Some mining barons are suspected to be behind these incidents. However, some people feel that a few villagers set fires believing a superstition.
Manjappa Doni, a local said, “This time, it is not the case as the incidents have happened in many parts. It required more time to douse the fire that was reported on Sunday. Villagers only set fire to dry grass. Recently, fires were reported even in areas where there were green plants. We demand strict action against the culprits.”Gadag Deputy Conservator of Forests A V Suryasen said, “We have registered cases and the investigation is underway. Soon we will find the culprits behind the incidents.”