Nayagarh: Fire brigade personnel doused the fire in the Rukhi hill forest near Nayagarh town late on Friday night.
Reports said the fire which suddenly broke out in the hill forest in the afternoon, spread quickly inside the forest. People living near the forest in the Old Town area of Nayagarh ran out of their houses fearing for their lives.
Following information, Fire brigades, Nayagarh Forest Range Officer, Forest staffs and local volunteers rushed inside the forest and brought the raging fire under control after five hours at about 1 AM.
However, locals found smoke still billowing out from inside the forest this morning.
Talking to OTV, Duryodhan Paikray, a native of Nayagarh town, said while the plight of the people of Nayagarh town has already become miserable due to the intense heat wave and acute scarcity of drinking water, the fire in Rukhi forest has further compounded their miseries. “It is as if the town has turned into a fireball,” he said.
Another native of the town, Dilip Hati said the fire in Rukhi hill forest will destroy its flora and fauna. “The hill forest provides relief to the people during summer. The fire inside the forest will make the life of the people in the town miserable. While temperature hovers in 45-46 degree Celsius region at present, the fire in this hill forest has further raised the temperature level in the area. From this, you can imagine the plight of the people,” he pointed out.
“We have finally brought the fire under control. Efforts are on not to allow the fire to spread to other parts of the forests,” Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Nayagarh Forest Range, Suresh Chandra Hota told media persons.
Asked about the cause of the fire, he said the people in the locality are setting fire in the forest without knowing its consequences.
“We have requested the people to immediately inform the Forest department if they notice fire in the forest. Besides, efforts should be made by the people to ensure that there is no fire in the forest. Considering that the temperature, which has crossed 45 degrees Celsius in Nayagarh, would rise further if fire breaks out in the forest, people should take all possible measures in this regard,” the ACF added.