More than 200 acres of vegetation was destroyed in a major forest fire in Ambligolla and Choradi State forest limits on the periphery of Shettyhalli Wildlife Sanctuary in Sagar taluk of Shivamogga district on Saturday.
Mohan Gangolli, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Sagar, told The Hindu that stray incidents of fire were reported near Belandur and Choradi on Sunday, but the situation was under control.
The forests in Ambligolla and Choradi Range have dense bamboo vegetation. Two years ago, the bamboo flowered and dried up making the region vulnerable for forest fire. The fire might have been caused by friction between the bamboo sticks and spread at a rapid pace due to strong winds. “The possibility of intentionally torching the forest for encroachment cannot be ruled out. The department will conduct a probe,” he said.
Fire tenders could not douse the flames as their water stock got exhausted soon. Diwakar, a resident of Belandur, said there has been no power in the village during the day for the past one month, and hence the fire tenders had to return to Sagar city to refill, which delayed the fire fighting operations.
Over 40,000 saplings planted by the department in 2015 as part of its afforestation initiative in the second block of Kudigere Range were reduced to ashes.