Over 20 acres of forest land has been affected after a fire broke out in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu on Saturday afternoon, and was not put out as of Sunday afternoon. The fire broke in five locations simultaneously.
Speaking to TNM, Pushpakaran, Deputy Director of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve buffer zone said that they are still trying to put out the fire. “We have put out the fires at four places. But are still not able to douse the fire in one section, which is Manthadiya. The other places, we managed to put out the fire yesterday immediately,” he said.
This comes soon after a major fire broke out in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which started on Thursday and continued to rage on Saturday. The fire spread across Kundakere, Bandipur and Gopalaswamy Betta ranges of the tiger reserve. Hundreds of acres were said to be affected because of the fire. This has further hampered efforts to douse the fire in Mudumalai, as teams rushed to Bandipur to help control the fire there.
“Our men were already busy with the Bandipur fire and now they are working on the blaze here as well. This seems to be caused by people because fire can't erupt in five places simultaneously otherwise. We initially thought it could have been an accident but now we suspect some locals are involved. We've promised rewards for any leads to the perpetrators,” Pushpakaran added.
He further said that there is a delay in putting out the fire because of the high velocity of winds and the presence of the lantana, a thorny plant which is hampering movement. “I also have to think about the safety of my men. No wildlife has been affected so far, from what we have seen,” the deputy director said.