The district administration prohibited the public from entering the hills for the next three days without permission.

3 arrested for causing forest fire in Salems Yercaud foothillsFacebook/@YercaudIndia
news Fire Monday, February 25, 2019 - 10:15

A day after a forest fire broke out at the foothills of Yercaud, the Salem police arrested three men for causing the fire. The men were picked up near Karungali village on Sunday.

The fire began small, in the dry bamboo forest in Yercaud near Karungali village on Saturday evening. However, by Sunday afternoon it had intensified. A statement released by District Collector Rohini Bhajibhakare said that people living near areas where the fire might spread — Kurumbapatty Zoological park and Karungali village — have been evacuated to safer places. “To bring the fire under control, 37 water lorries and more than 6 fire engines have been put into service round-the-clock,” read the statement.

The three men — V Prasad of Pappireddipatti, M Vinodkumar of Omalur and Anbazhagan from Kannankurichi —  have been accused by the Tamil Nadu Forest department of consuming liquor and causing the fire, and have been remanded to judicial custody. Rohini Bhajibhakare said that five teams have been working to contain the fire and helicopters would be used to douse the fire, if it continues.

The Collector, in her statement, also said that locals and tourists visiting Yercaud must not use the roads on the hills without permission from the Forest Department. “We request people not to visit Yercaud for the next three days,” the statement said. Those who do not follow instructions will be punished severely, the statement added.

Meanwhile, fire also broke out in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The fire, which broke out simultaneously in five locations, raged for more than 24 hours. The Forest officials suspect the involvement of locals in starting the fire and have announced a reward for any lead on the perpetrators. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve also was affected by forest fire.

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