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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The instances of forest fire in Similipal reserve forest has been reduced in 2022 as compared to the instances reported last year (2021), informed the Odisha Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Sashi Paul on Tuesday.

Divulging details on forest fires in the State, Paul told reporters that only Similipal biosphere witnessed forest fire at 2000 points last year (From October 2020 till March 2021). “But we have registered only 1000 fire points in the same area this year,” said Paul.

“With overcast conditions prevailing over northern Odisha skies till the end of February and rains lashing the Similipal forest, the instances of forest fire is reduced,” Paul said.

Speaking on the spurt in fire cases in the forests, Paul said the period between the beginning of March and the mid April is crucial as the weather remains mostly dry. This aids in forest fires in the State, he said.

Worthwhile to mention that forest fire broke out at several points including Gudugudia and Talabandha recently, razing hectares of jungle into ashes. Though the Forest department has deployed around 700 personnel and 500 blowers to tackle the blaze, it seems to be far from being sufficient.

The forest fires in the Similipal reserve last year which continued unchecked for more than 15 days had attracted widespread condemnation from all corners of the country, with celebrities and Union Ministers demanding to douse the flames as soon as possible.

It was alleged that the fire could have been set by locals to poach wild animals and collect mahua.

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