Odishatv Bureau

Mayurbhanj: A major fire has erupted in the Similipal Tiger Reserve under the Pithabata forest range of Mayurbhanj district engulfing vast areas affecting the endangered flora and fauna.

The intensity of fire is so high that it has spread to peripheries making life difficult for the villagers living on the foothills of the mountain range closeby.

As per sources, the forest fire had erupted six days back and has drastically affected the atmosphere and environment in the whole area.

Besides deteriorating the biosphere, valuable, rare and medicinal plants worth lakhs of rupees have also been damaged as no step could be taken immediately to douse the fire, sources added.

On the other hand, the forest officials alleged that despite efforts and awareness drives, carelessness and age old practices of the local people are causing forest fires.

Environmentalist Pradyumna Kumar Das said, “Generally, forest fire in Similipal during summer is nothing new, it’s an annual phenomenon. We cannot blame the forest officials for this. There is lack of awareness among the people and as long as people are not aware, nothing can be done.”

“Nature burns, and along with it burn huge flora and fauna. The heat burns us too,” added Das.