Karnataka

Forest staff brace for fire season at MM Hills in Karnataka

Though the fire season in MM Hills normally begins in January, unseasonal rains till as late as the first week of December ensured that the vegetation has remained green and moist so far. MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary has about 175 water holes that are flush with water due to heavy rains.

Though the fire season in MM Hills normally begins in January, unseasonal rains till as late as the first week of December ensured that the vegetation has remained green and moist so far. MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary has about 175 water holes that are flush with water due to heavy rains.

 

With the imminent rise in temperature in the days leading to summer, authorities at MM Hills in south Karnataka are bracing for forest fires and have taken precautionary measures to prevent or combat an outbreak.

Though the fire season in MM Hills normally begins in January, unseasonal rains till as late as the first week of December ensured that the vegetation has remained green and moist so far. "As a result, the fire season has been postponed by almost 45 days,” said V. Yedukondalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.

The conventional practice of clearing fire lines – creating a bald patch of land along delineated beat boundaries to act as a fire breaker – has been completed. A 450-km fire line has been drawn and cleared. The Forest Department has deployed additional 80 personnel to look out for any outbreak.

Summer tends to be intense in Chamarajanagar district. The bulk of the forest is dry deciduous that degrades into scrub jungles along the periphery and fringe area with patches of moist deciduous vegetation. Besides, more than 60% of the forest area, which covers about 906 sq km, has lantana, an invasive weed that is highly combustible and acts as a fuel in spreading a conflagration.

“Preventing an outbreak should be the priority as a small spark can escalate to a major fire and will continue to burn as long as there is fuel in the form of dry vegetation. Any intervention should happen within minutes of the outbreak. Hence, additional staff have been deployed to look out for any outbreak,” said Mr. Yedukondalu.

Authorities have deposited ₹3 crore with the fire services, who have stationed one fire tender truck apart from a couple of quick response vehicles equipped to douse a fire. Arrangements are in place to have such vehicles – 40 in all – in each of the 7 ranges of MM Hills.

The fire tenders and quick response vehicles will be stationed in fire-prone areas, said Mr. Yedukondalu.

The wildlife sanctuary has about 175 water holes that are flush with water due to heavy rains. Normally, a majority of them tend to go dry by the end of January, but not this year. Besides, the rivers Palar and Cauvery flows through a portion of the sanctuary. Hence, wild animals are expected to be slightly better off this summer.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 28, 2022 10:42:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/forest-staff-brace-for-fire-season-at-mm-hills-in-karnataka/article38303361.ece