More than 2.5 acres of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district was burnt in a fire that broke out on Sunday afternoon, said forest officials. The fire was brought under control and no wildlife was affected, added officials.
The fire was noticed by the staffers in the Moolapur Betta forest of the Bandipur range around 2.30 pm. The forest department has deployed 400 additional forest guards after the fire.
Bandipur has dry deciduous vegetation, making it susceptible to fires. Officials say that more than 50 per cent of the forest is covered with lantana which is highly combustible.
As a precautionary measure, the forest department has constructed 20 watchtowers to keep round the clock vigil. “Fire engines have been deployed in sensitive areas to respond to emergencies. Awareness programmes have been held and everyday water is sprayed along the highway passing through the forest so that any untoward incident from the lighted cigarette butts do not take place. The water holes have water due to the good monsoon,” an official said.
The officials are also mindful about miscreants, who in their constant tussle with the forest department lights fires at different places of the forest.
In 2019, more than 15,000 acres of the Bandipur forest area was burnt in a fire.