Forest fire in Boudh

A fire has been ravaging forests in Boudh for the past three days.

  • Published 30.03.18
Forest fire rages at Kantamal Reserve Forest in Boudh. Telegraph picture

Balangir: A fire has been ravaging forests in Boudh for the past three days.

The fire has spread in Kantamal, Puruna katak, Madhapur and Manamunda forest divisions. People living in the area have expressed concerns that forest fires have become a regular feature every summer. Senior forest officials, however, claim the situation is under control.

Sources said fire had broken out in at least 30 forests under the four forest ranges in Boudh covering several hundred acres. The fire has resulted in heavy loss to the forest with trees such as sal, mohua and dharua having been reduced to ashes. Bulu Pradhan, a resident of Kantamal, said forest fires had become a regular feature in the Boudh forests. "Every summer Boudh forests witness major fire that results in loss of forest wealth. Apart from valuable trees, there is also loss of minor forest produces such as mohua flowers, kendu leaf and amla. That worries the local people because they earn their livelihood by collecting such forest products," he said and added that the temperature of the area also rises due to the constant fires.

Prabeer Kumar Das, an activist, said efforts of the forest department to tackle the fire leave much to be desired.

"The forest department must take help of the Vana Suraksha Samiti and other organisations to address the issue. The forest department should involve them in creating awareness among the villagers about the protection of jungle and also about tackling the forest fire. Sadly, that is not done," said Das.

Boudh divisional forest officer Jasobanta Sethi attributed the forest fire to want of adequate staff members. "We do not have enough employees to engage in dousing the fire in the various forests. But we have now formed a squad that, with the help of the members of the Vana Suraksha Samiti and villagers, are working hard to douse the flames. Things are under control now," he said.