BARIPADA: Scared by the fire in Tinkosia reserve forest, a wild bear entered the nearby human settlements leaving villagers of Nilagiri panic-struck on Thursday. The animal was spotted on the road between Kaptipada and Nilagiri and later moved towards the forest.
Though the bear harmed no one, locals demanded that more personnel be engaged to keep a watch on its movement due to the forest fires. It is the man-made fire in Nilagiri range that has become a concern for Forest officials who are keeping a watch. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Balasore Biswaraj Panda said several sensitive points including Kendukhunta forest close to Raibania police station in Jaleswar range, Jharanaghati in Kuldiha range, Tinkosia in Sojanagarh section in Nilagiri range, and areas in Soro and Kupari are under constant monitoring.
To mitigate the fire, the division has formed 45 fire squads with adequate vehicles besides taking assistance from Vana Suraksha Samiti in these localities. Awareness camps for forest dwellers are being held with support of ward members and panchayat representatives. Moreover, Odisha Forest Monitoring system has uploaded the exact locations of the fire points which helps tackle the situation, added Panda.
Range Officer of Nilagiri Munawar Khan said the department extinguished fires in three places including the one at Tinkosia and another at Naranpur on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, with around 86 fire points in 20 beats under Similipal North Division, the department has controlled fire at several points. The quick spread of such fires has been attributed to sudden spike in day temperature of up to 7 degree Celsius in the tiger reserve. The department has engaged more than 70 forest personnel over seven ranges besides availing the assistance of locals to deal with the situation.
Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF), Baripada Yogajayanand said that out of 399 points, only few have reported a fire situation, adding that the department is trying its best to keep them at check.