Baripada: In what could be termed as divine intervention, showers at various places in Karanjia block of Mayurbhanj district, which shares boundary with the Similipal biosphere reserve, was reported on Wednesday brightening prospects of bringing relief to the fire-ravaged forest.
The sudden rainfall in the vicinity of Similipal Tiger Reserve for over one and half hours is expected to douse the wildfire in the peripheries of the park and prevent it from further spread.
Earlier in the day, Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had directed a Central empowered committee comprising experts from the forest research institutes, forest conservationists and fire experts to visit the State on Thursday to assess the wildfire situation. The committee will provide technical assistance to the State officials in containing the blaze in Similipal biosphere reserve and other forests.
Javadekar conveyed his decision in sending the team after a delegation of BJP MPs from Odisha led by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met him in Delhi this morning.
The fire in Similipal which was reported around a fortnight back has triggered global outcry for the ecological disaster. Forest and fire personnel are finding it tough to extinguish the flames in the large biosphere reserve.
The dense reserve is a sanctuary and one of the tiger projects and national parks of India. It is home to as many as 42 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds.