Forest fire has engulfed a portion of the Athagarh forest division. The fire that has been raging from last week has already destroyed trees worth lakhs of rupees in Athagarh, Baramba, Khuntuni, Narsinghpur (east) and Narsinghpur (west) ranges of the forest division.
It is suspected that the fire is the handiwork of poachers who are having a free run with the forest officials continuing their agitation.
Locals said fire has spread to Sukasan reserve forest under Athagarh range, Baniabandha reserve forest, Gobora reserve forest under Khuntuni range, Chandragiri reserve forest and Tareigonda reserve forest under Baramba range, Devuin and Nuagarh reserve forests under Narsinghpur (east) range, Balikiari reserve forest under Narsinghpur (west) range areas.
Lack of firebreaks (a gap in vegetation that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of forest fire) and water sources inside the forest have worsened the situation.
“The number of guards in the forest range is not adequate to curb the forest fire as almost all of them are participating in the agitation,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, owing to the fire, temperature in the local areas has gone up to 40 degree Celsius.