Himansu Shekhar Rout

For the last eight days, forest fires have been raging in various parts of the eco-sensitive Similipal Sanctuary in the Mayurbhanj district amid a severe heat wave. This has made life miserable for the people living in the surrounding areas.

Worryingly, the fires have been spreading from one hill to another with the blaze reported from three points in the Podadiha area. Columns of smoke billowing out from the fire points have enveloped many parts of the sanctuary.

Though the Forest Department has been carrying out fire-fighting exercises, it has not been able to contain the blaze.

However, coupled with the relentless rise in the mercury, the heat generated by the raging forest fires has made life miserable for the people living in the villages surrounding Similipal. 

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Speaking to OTV, a resident of Daisahi, a village on the foothills of Similipal said, "For the last three to four days, fires are burning at many places. The fires are adding to the atmospheric heat which is affecting life here.”

Another resident said, "Fires appear at night. All places here are covered under smoke. Eyes get a burning sensation. It is too difficult for us to look outside.”

Many observed that people setting fires to forests should understand the danger posed to animals and humans in the vicinity. 

However, no comments were received from the Forest Department.

(Report by Rabindra Nayak)