Karnataka forest fire under control: Official

Karnataka forest fire under control: Official

Bengaluru: The forest fire in Karnataka’s Bandipur national park, raging since Friday, has been brought under control, a top official said on Tuesday.

“The forest fire in Bandipur has been doused by multiple agencies, including the Indian Air Force (IAF), district fire brigade, forest guards, locals and volunteers,” Karnataka Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) C. Jayaram told IANS from Bandipur in Chamarajanagar district, about 220km from here.

Though the cause of the wildfire is yet to be ascertained, Jayaram said the inferno was confined to about 30 sq kms in the core area and 20 sq kms in the periphery of the 1,320 sq kms national park that straddles across the inter-state border into Tamil Nadu.

“The northeast monsoon between October and December failed. Rising temperatures since the past 10 days may, dry wild grass and the high-speed winds aided to the spread of fire,” said Jayaram.

Two IAF helicopters sprayed 19,000 litres of water in seven sorties on Tuesday across the affected area.

“Bambi bucket operations continue. Seven sorties and 19k litres sprayed today (Tuesday). Helicopters (are) on standby at Mysuru. No further tasking by the state government since noon,” the IAF tweeted later.

Eye witnesses said hundreds of trees and bushes had been reduced to ashes.

No casualties of animals reported so far, said Jayaram.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in a tweet requested people to stay away from the affected areas until the situation was brought under control.

Admitting that blaze this year was bigger and wider than the previous years, the official said steps were being taken to prevent its recurrence till the onset of the southwest monsoon in June.

State Forest Minister Satish Jarkiholi, camping at Bandipur since Sunday, reviewed the situation and directed the staff to be on vigil and prevent wildfire recurrence.