A major fire,which broke out at Mitiyala sanctuary in the east division of Gir on Tuesday afternoon,is reported to have destroyed nearly 500 hectares of grassland.
Fortunately,a pride of lions and some other wild animals sheltering in the sanctuary are reported to be safe,said a forest official.
According to sources,the fire was brought under control on Wednesday after a struggle for nearly 12 hours.
Around 500 people were pressed into service by the authorities to douse the flames.
The sanctuary,spread over an area of nearly 1,800 hectares,is located near the Savarkundla town outside Gir forest.
Maneshwar Raja,the deputy conservator of forest (Gir east),said “The fire broke out around 3 pm on Tuesday and was brought under control at 3 am on Wednesday. It had spread to nearly 500 hectares of the hilly grassland and destroyed the standing grass in the area.”
“A pride of lions and other herbivores sheltering in the sanctuary are safe,” said Raja.
An inquiry into the incident has been initiated. The exact cause of the fire is not known yet.
According to Raja,the area where the fire erupted was a hilly land,while lions normally venture around on plains having abundant water.
According to sourses in the Forest department,a pride of nine lions has been sheltering in the sanctuary,while around six more lions have been spotted roaming in the adjacent revenue areas.