The devastating fire that broke out in the 87,000-hectare Bandipur Tiger Reserve and National Park in Karnataka on February 21 was finally put out on February 26 with the assistance of Indian Air Force helicopters.
Sridhar Punatti, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, told The News Minute, “According to satellite imagery, it is estimated that high intensity fire has affected 500 hectares mostly in the hillside of Gopalaswamy Betta and the rest of it is mostly low-intensity fire.” A spokesperson tweeted that 19,000 litres of water were sprayed on the fire on Tuesday.
Official sources have claimed that nearly 2,000 hectares of forest land was harmed in the fire, while independent sources quoted a much higher figure. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had on Monday sought the help of Air Force in efforts to douse the fire after reviewing the firefighting and rescue operations. The worst-affected areas are Gopalaswamy Betta, Bandipur and Kundakere ranges in Chamrajanagar district of Karnataka.
C Jayaram, principal chief conservator of forests, claimed the forest fire was man-made. “Someone has set a dung fire and the culprit has been identified and police will nab him soon,” he said.