Staff Reporter

Advisory follows forest blaze

BHUBANESWAR: Close on the heels of one of the worst forest fires damaging fauna of Barunei reserved jungle on the outskirt of the capital city, the Forest Department has asked the picnic goers to confine themselves to a demarcated corridor.

The directive was issued as fire being used for cooking was said to be a chief source of forest fire.

Lower canopy of a major part of Barunei reserved forest spread over 482-hectare had been affected by the forest fire that had broken out on Wednesday. “We have managed to put out the forest fire after six-hours of non-stop toiling. Fire brigades were used in the forest area,” said G. Rajesh, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Khurda on Friday.

He said although detail assessment was yet to be done, there was not much damage to upper canopy of the forest. “Preliminary investigation indicates that some daily labour might have left half-burnt bidi. It is feared that the bidi caused the fire,” Mr. Rajesh said.

The DFO said usually during the month of January there was a short spell of rain that made fallen leaves wet. “But since the month of October last, we have not witnessed a single spell of rain. As a result leaves fallen on ground became dry, which are prone to forest fire,” he said.

Mr. Rajesh said the department was embarking upon a detail assessment as how did the forest fire occur and what was the scale of damage.

“It is very difficult to keep track of every individual who could be the source of forest fire. However, as a preventive measure we have requested people not to spread out in vast area for cooking as well as smoking when then come for picnic,” he said.

Barunei is a scenic spot, which was about 30 km from Bhubaneswar. Barunei attracts thousands of visitors round the year.