Uphill Task: Know Methods Used To Douse Similipal Forest Fire In Odisha

Baripada: Forest department personnel, who are deployed at Similipal National Park in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district to douse the raging fires and save wildlife, trek 10 to 15 km through difficult terrain everyday clearing spots after spots. 

Assistant Fire Officer Prakash Jena told Odisha Bytes on Tuesday that the wildfires have been put out at more than 54 spots, while it is continuing to rage at 14 more places under six ranges. Around 50 fire personnel formed into six teams have been pressed into service.

These personnel have been requisitioned from Balasore, Keonjhar, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj. Local forest staff guide them through the forest areas, which is new for them. They are also provided with satellite images of the fire spots for the next day.

Jena said that camps have been set up for them and they are being provided cooked food. “The teams work in shifts all day to stop the fire at the earlier,” he added.

Forest fire

The teams are equipped with 10 blowers, water tankers or motor fire engines, fire extinguishers and hand spray. They are also employing the cut and die traditional method.

Jena said a requisition has been made for more blowers while quick reaction units are using water tankers for extinguishing the flames in the peripheral areas. “The tankers are not equipped to scale the hilly region. The flames in the foothill with motorable access are the ones where these tankers are being used,” Jena said.

On hilltops, fire lines are being created to douse the flames, he added.

Jena, however, could not answer with certainty as to how many more days it would take them to contain the fire completely. “The area is vast but the personnel deployed are leaving nothing to chance. Moreover, their duty does not end with dousing the fire, they also have to create awareness among the villagers,” he added.

Meanwhile, a poacher has been arrested for allegedly setting fire in Gudidiha forest under Dudhiali range. The accused, identified as Salu Tiu of Khadakuda village, was caught while setting the forest on fire to poach rabbit, sources said.

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