Following a series of forest fires in Telangana’s Amrabad Tiger Reserve, a fresh one was reported on Friday. The fire had spread to 10 acres and was immediately doused by fire personnel, forest department officials said. The fire reportedly broke out near Turkapally in Nagarkurnool district.
The Amrabad Tiger Reserve falls under the Nallamala forest, which is spread across five erstwhile districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh. Speaking to TNM, Nagarkurnool District Forest Officer M Joji said, “The fire was not too interior in the forest, so we could douse it almost immediately after being alerted.”
The DFO suspects that the fire could be a man-made one. “The Chenchus (Adivasi tribe) living near the forest try to clear the forest for fruits. So often, they burn the forest. We have been making appeals to them against such practices, but they continue to burn the forest,” he said.
This is the third instance of forest fires reported in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve recently. In a fire that occurred on March 7, four persons belonging to the Chenchu tribe were trapped in the forest fire. Among them, a man identified as Lingaiah succumbed on March 14. Another man, Yellaiah, while being treated at the Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad, died due to his injuries days later. The other two persons caught in the fire are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Forests and Wildlife Protection Society (FAWPS), a group working for the welfare of the tribal people, appealed to the government to shift them to a private hospital for better treatment.
Speaking about the frequent forest fires, the DFO said, “Forest fires are common this season. We have deployed teams inside the forest, who will promptly respond in case of a fire.”
After Lingaiah’s death, Tribal Welfare Minister Satyavathi Rathod had announced immediate financial assistance to the affected families. The government also promised that it would take care of the education and weddings of Lingaiah’s five children, and provided financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to his family.