Fire alerts, tourism curbs across all forests in Karnataka

Fire alerts, tourism curbs across all forests in Karnataka

For the first time ever, the Karnataka forest department has issued a high alert across all forests in the state.

Alarmed by a series of fires, the authorities are taking extra precautions this summer. Normally, alerts are issued only in ranges and reserves where fires have broken out.

“Forest fires in India are man-made, unlike in the West. People set fire to dry forest patches,” a top official said.

Keeping this in mind, the department has made forest entry more difficult than ever before. C Jayaram, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, has been touring all forests where fires have been reported.

“This time, the drought has been so severe we are hearing of fires even in moist forest patches,” he told DH.

Volunteers, NGOs and even temporary forest watchers are barred from entering the forests. Only those the department knows well are being sent on patrols. This is being done to avoid any mischief, he said.

Rainfall has been deficient in the last three years, and that has rendered the forests dry and vulnerable, according to the department.

Big fires have been reported from the Bandipur and Anshi-Dandeli tiger reserves. Over the past two weeks, forests in Mandya (Karighatta), Ramanagaram, Sakleshpur, Chikkamagaluru and Davangere have also witnessed fires.

Though no forest fire has been reported at Nagarhole tiger reserve, the department has issued an alert even there.

Rain forecast

The Met Department has forecast light to moderate rainfall from Friday across south interior Karnataka.

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