Nearly 60 hectares of forest were destroyed in fires throughout three forest divisions, including the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as north and south Wayanad over the past three days, reports The Hindu.
Though the fire was brought under control in many parts of the wildlife sanctuary, residual fires still pose a serious threat, B N Anjan Kumar, chief conservator of forest in Palakkad told the newspaper.
About 50 hectares of forest have been destroyed in six incidents in the Kurichiya forest range under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Fires were also reported in the Valaramkunnu and Narippara forests on the Banasura mountain ranges under the south and north Wayanad forest divisions.
A total of 120 persons, including forest watchers and members of Vana Samrakshana Samithi, helped douse the fire.
According to officials, lack of summer rain has lead to high temperatures, and heavy wind and withered undergrowth caused the fire to spread rapidly. However they also suspect human involvement as the fire spread simultaneously in six areas under the sanctuary.
A fire was also reported at the Madumalai forest, which shares border with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary area, in Bandipur on Saturday evening. The Karnataka forest department spent hours working to bring the fire under control.
The fire caused major traffic congestion on the Mysuru-Ooty national highway.
Meanwhile, a godown at Edevanna in Malappuram was gutted on Saturday. According to reports, the godown had been functioning without a license for the last two years, and no safety measures were taken. The owner of the godown, Ilyas, fled the location and is currently absconding.