Baripada: Large swathes of Similpal sanctuary situated in Mayurbhanj district have been put on fire by miscreants, endangering the ecosystem of the forest. Such has been the intensity of fire that it has already gobbled up jungles within the forest range and is spreading from mountain to mountain.
Slash-and-burn agriculture, demand for firewood and hunting of wild animals are the major reasons for which notorious elements are razing the forests, according to the sanctuary authorities.
The fire is not only threatening the flora and fauna, but also has left the inhabitants of the peripheral villages in a state of abject terror.
“A lot has been damaged by the fire with no efforts being taken to extinguish it, putting our thatched houses under constant threat of catching fire,” said a terrified inhabitant of a nearby village.
According to sources, fire has spread in Jadapala and Duruchampa sections of Na’ana South range and Gunduria, Podadhia and Sarua sections of the Jenabil range of the sanctuary.
“Though our staff has been actively intervening to extinguish fire after receiving information, miscreants are moving to other places to spread the fire,” claimed chief regional wildlife conservator Harishchandra Bist.