News Karnataka
Sunday, February 05 2023
Chamraj Nagar

Forest officials make fullfledged arrangements to prevent wildfire in Bandipura

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Chamarajanagara: The Forest officials of Bandipura National Park (BNP) have taken all the precautionary measures to prevent wildfire. The BNP has a total area of 1084 square kilometres, and is one of the parks with largest tiger density in the country. Apart from tigers thousands of elephants, deers, leopards, bears and birds are living in the sanctuary.

The BNP had no head since November 2021 after the transfer of BNP Director S. R. Natesh. The State Government posted  Karnataka cadre IFS Officer Ramesh Kumar as new BNP Director and Conservator of Forests on last Thursday.

As the BNP has precious tree wealth as well as wild animals, protecting the park during summer is really a challenge for forest officers. As the park have lakhs of trees, the leaves falling during every summer increases the danger of wildfire. Even a piece of cigarette, beedi, match stick can cause fire. During  2019 nearly 4000 acres of forest was gutted in fire caused by miscreants. The officials faced tough time to douse the fire, even IAF choppers were pressed in to service for extinguishing fire.

This year Forest Department officers have already done fire lines up to 2600 kilometres, and have engaged large fire tenders to form quick response teams to tackle possible forest fire. After 2019 tragedy the forest department is on high alert during every summer and also have managed zero fire since last two years.

Two major national highways pass through this national park. The officials spraying water beside Mysuru – Ooty NH 67 and Mysuru – Sultan Battery NH 766 daily to prevent fire caused by smokers.

The officials already have done  fire line upto 2600 kilometres beside borders of forest and safari routes. The department has appointed 435 temporary  fire watchers for three months, and also increased beat. The national park consisting of 13 forest ranges have 1000 permanent employees and  officers. Now the total strength of officials has been raised to 1500. The officials have engaged 3 fire tenders and formed 11 quick response teams to prevent forest fire, which are equipped with water tankers.

Speaking to News Karnataka, BNP Director  Ramesh Kumar said that the temporary workers were appointed from tribal haadis. These tribals living beside forests play vital role in protecting forests. He said the fire increases  human-elephant conflict. The wild animals enter human habitats for water and fodder, he said and appealed people to cooperate with forest department to prevent fire.

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