Karnataka

Rains extinguish threat of forest fires in south Karnataka

Moderate to heavy rains across Bandipur and other forest regions in South Karnataka has doused the threat of forest fire considerably.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Moderate to heavy rains in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries during the last 24 hours has brought relief to the denizens of the forests from the searing heat that was sweeping the region.

The Forest Department is also relieved considerably as the rains have extinguished the threat of forest fire that looms large during summer and lasts till the onset of monsoon.

Bandipur Tiger Reserve was the biggest beneficiary, consequent to which the local authorities have said that the threat of fire for the current year has been fully doused.

It is customary for the Forest Department to recruit fire watchers from the local tribal communities during the onset of summer. In Bandipur 435 people from the local villages were recruited to keep a watch this year.

But moderate to heavy rains lashed the forests during the last few days and covered the entire Bandipur landscape spread over nearly 874 sq km and moistened the vegetation. As a result the forest watchers, recruited on an ad hoc basis for the fire season, will be relieved.

Bandipur is among the most fire-prone landscapes in the region. A major fire in 2019 gutted over 15,000 acres of forests which is dry deciduous in nature and is highly combustible.

The adjoining Nagarahole tiger reserve has also received rains. Mahesh Kumar, Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, said most of the fire-prone ranges have received good rains and the threat of any major fire has diminished by 75 per cent. ‘’However, it was not as heavy and intense as in Bandipur. But we expect a few more spell of rains during the month after which we can confidently say that the fire season is over at Nagarahole.’

At MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary which turns into a tinder box during summer, there were heavy rains on Wednesday and the Meteorological Department has forecast more rains in the days ahead.

V. Yedukondalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests, MM Hills, said rains lashed MM Hills, Palar, Ramapura, Kollegal and Hanur ranges while Hoogyam and PG Palya remain dry. “Major fires are a remote possibility now. A few more spells of rains has been forecast after which the fire season for the current year can be said to have ended. But the temporary fire watchers recruited from the local villages will be relieved only after April 30 once the fire threat is fully diminished’’, he added.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:12:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rains-extinguish-threat-of-forest-fires-in-south-karnataka/article34328166.ece

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