Forest fire spreads to Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Last Updated 23 February 2019, 18:52 IST

The major forest fire which consumed hillocks around Bandipur National Park two days ago, spread close to Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday. Thousands of acres of forest have been reduced to ashes due to the blazing fire.

The Forest department personnel and volunteers have been trying hard to control the raging fire, which is spreading fast due to high-speed wind.

The fire that erupted at Kebbepur-Choudalli under Gopalaswamy Betta Forest Range, on Friday, spread to Maguvinahalli Jarkallu, Gummannagudda, Gowri Kallu Betta and other parts. Though the officials claimed that the fire had been brought under control, it reached Melukamanahalli forest check-post at 12 noon on Saturday.

As a precautionary measure, the Forest department closed the gates of the national park at Melukamanahalli for nearly two hours. Vehicular traffic was suspended on the National Highway 66 that passes through the national park. A large number of vehicles, bound for Tamil Nadu, were stopped at the check post and at Bandipur. Even safari was suspended for the day.

According to the officials, due to high wind speeds and dried vegetation, the fire is spreading fast and it has become difficult to control it. Hundreds of people, including forest personnel, fire fighters, volunteers of various organisations and local people are involved in fire fighting operation.

Forest fore also destroyed the vegetation at Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, a tourist hub, on Friday night. However, the officials managed to control the flames by Saturday morning.

In Nagarahole

Wildfire that erupted at Nagarahole National Park area, destroyed nearly 35 acres of forestland, on Saturday.

The fire erupted at Sollepur Forest range, bordering Hunsur and HD Kote taluks. According to an officer, due to high wind speeds, the fire destroyed a large area. However, the fire is under control, he said.

Chief Conservator of Forests Narayanaswamy said, two acres of forest region, under the Wildlife sanctuary have been affected. The fire is under control, he said.

(Published 23 February 2019, 17:51 IST)

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