Wildlife managers of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) have focussed their attention on preventing forest fires in the wake of recurring outbreaks in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) on the Kerala-Karnataka border.
The three forest divisions in the district, including the WWS and the two territorial divisions, are contiguous with the Nagarhole National Park and the BTR in Karnataka and the Mudumalai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu. The WWS is the only sanctuary in the State which shares its border with the forest areas of the two States.
Hundreds of hectares of forest was decimated in the BTR in a fire at the Kalkere forest range of Bandipur on the Kerala-Karnataka border on Saturday. Though the fire was brought under control by Sunday night, another major outbreak was reported at Kamalanagar and Enbegur in the Gundara forest range of the BTR adjacent to the Kurichiyad forest range on Monday.
The new sites at Enbegur forest are nearly 8 km from Vandikkadvu under the Kurichiyad range of the sanctuary.
“We have taken all possible measures to prevent the fire from entering the sanctuary and constructed fire belts by clearing withered undergrowths and other combustible materials at a width of 10 metres on the border areas,” P. Dhaneshkumar, WWS Warden, told The Hindu.
Help for Karnataka
The Wayanad district administration also sent two fire tenders from the Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery fire stations as well as a team of forest officials on Tuesday morning to Kamalanagar to assist the Karnataka forest personnel on a request from the Karnataka forest force chief.
Lack of rainfall and ground frost in the morning has exacerbated conditions by quickly drying out vegetation, turning them to tinder which feed more fires, Forest Department personnel said.