Around 300 acres of forest land was destroyed after a fire broke out in the Kermalam reserve forest area inside the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve on Thursday.
News reports stated that the fire first broke out at Gethesal and rapidly spread to the nearby villages of Mavallam and Kottarai, destroying trees, medicinal herbs and electrical poles. Forest officials estimate that it would take at least two days to completely extinguish the fire.
The fire prompted the Forest department to suspend road connectivity between the affected villages and other nearby areas. The transportation between Asanur and Kollegal through Kermalam was cut since Thursday morning. The Arepalayam check post has also been closed and many villages in this region are reeling under darkness since the fire has destroyed electrical poles and lines.
This forest fire comes around two weeks after a forest fire broke out at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The fire in the forest broke out at five different locations at the same time, prompting officials to consider if it was a deliberate act by humans that caused the fire. On the same day, Salem’s Yercaud foothills also saw a forest fire breaking out and spreading to nearby areas. The next day, the Salem police arrested three men for consuming liquor in the area and causing the fire.
On February 20, a major forest fire broke out in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, which continued to rage for at least four days after it was first spotted. The fire reportedly destroyed over 2,000-3,000 hectares of forest land. Forest officials, fire service personnel and at least 400 volunteers were involved in putting out the fire.