Kerala deploys forest staff across border

The forest staff has adopted the counter-firing technique, clearing the underbrush at a safe distance by hazard reduction burning.

Published: 26th February 2019 04:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2019 04:04 AM   |  A+A-

Forest fire on the Banasura Hill in Wayanad | Express

Express News Service

KOCHI:  With the raging fire in Bandipur and Mudumalai forests spreading close to the Kerala border, the Kerala Forest Department has swung into action deploying around 100 watchers to stop the blaze from entering the state. The forest staff has adopted the counter-firing technique, clearing the underbrush at a safe distance by hazard reduction burning.

The watchers have been deployed 5 km across the border for risk reduction. More force, including forest flying squad, is being mobilised to provide logistic support to the personnel engaged in fire fighting, sources said.

Northern region Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B N Anjan Kumar will visit the state border on Tuesday to coordinate the efforts to stop the wildfire from spreading to Kerala. Wayanad Wildlife Warden N T Sajan, Wayanad North DFO R Keerthi and South DFO P Renjith Kumar are supervising the fire-fighting efforts.

It is a tough task for the forest staff to control the fire as there are chances of the wild animals in Bandipur migrating to Kerala forests to escape the blaze.“The situation is causing concern as it’ll be disastrous if the fire enters Kerala forest. Our staff is now employing the technique of counter-firing to stop wildfire,” Anjan Kumar told Express. 

State’s Forest Dept coordinates with Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Northern region Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B N Anjan Kumar said: “All precautionary measures have been taken as approaching the wildfire can cause dehydration thereby risking the lives of the staff. Wild animals like elephant, Indian gaur, deer and wild cats will be trying to cross over to Kerala forest to escape the fire. We’re coordinating with range officers of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.”

Meanwhile, the forest fire in Banasura Hills has been brought under control. The fire that started at Vellamunda Valaram Kunnu hills had spread to the grasslands of Bappanam. Around 100 forest watchers battled the fire for two days to bring it under control. “The Banasura hills are a 15-km long hill range and as the grass had dried up the fire spread wild overnight. There was a fire in Kurichiyad forest also last week. Now the situation is under control and we’re taking extra care to stop the Bandipur and Mudumalai fire from spreading to the state,” said DFO Renjith Kumar.

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