Vigil on the disaster management front particularly with regard to bush fires has been stepped up following the occurrence of a bush fire on a hill at Valley View, near here, on Monday.

The fire just above the Hanuman temple was noticed late in the afternoon and immediately personnel of the forest, police and fire and rescue services departments swung into action to extinguish it.

Speaking to The Hindu, forest department sources said that about one hectare of forest land had been affected by the blaze.

Suspecting carelessness on the part of some smoker to be the cause of the fire, they hoped that the people would help the department prevent such fires.

With Summer and the tourist season round the corner, “the threat of bush fires keeps us on our toes,” they said and added that without the cooperation of the people such fires cannot be prevented.

The people in general and tourists in particular should exercise utmost caution while passing through forests.

On no account should they light match sticks or smoke. Items, which can be ignited easily should not be taken into the forests. Roadside cooking should be avoided.

In the event of bush fires breaking out due to the carelessness of the people, the consequences would be catastrophic.

Irreparable damage would be done to the forest wealth. In addition to charring the flora, bush fires would cause the death of wildlife in different forms.

The lives of people residing in the vicinity would also be placed in jeopardy. Since it is the duty of all sections of the society to protect the forests, if anyone came across signs of a bush fire breaking out they should put it out. They should also inform the nearest forest official.