The fire in Odisha’s Similipal National Park that was raging for nearly a week and caused widespread concerns among environmentalists has now been brought under control, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said in a tweet on Friday. The environment minister claimed that no loss of life was reported.
However, unidentified officials told NDTV that the problem was far from over because of rising temperatures.
Earlier this week, several environment activists tweeted images and videos of the fire which had affected eight out of 21 ranges of Simlipal in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, according to a tweet by the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences.
“The #Simlipal Fires have raged for 10 days already, destroying much endangered flora and fauna, decimating medicinal plants and displacing countless wildlife & adivasi communities in 8 out of 21 ranges in Simlipal - Asia’s second largest biosphere reserve,” the institute said.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had reviewed the situation at the national park and said that there was no loss of life or damage to big trees.
However, conservationists working in Similipal said that several orchids and medicinal plants may have been burnt by the fire, the Hindustan Times reported. “It would take some time before the losses can be counted,” conservationist Vanoomitra Acharya told the newspaper. “It’s too early for anyone to say that there have been no losses.”
The forest department, meanwhile, has asked all district officers to submit a daily report on the number of fire points in their respective divisions, according to the Hindustan Times.