Dilip Kumar

Baripada: Amid growing concern over the wildfire that devoured a large tract of forests in Similipal biosphere reserve, the erstwhile royal family of Mayurbhanj has stepped out of the comforts of the palace and accompanied villagers in fighting the raging forest blaze.

Rasmi Rajyalaxmi Bhanj Deo, the queen of the erstwhile royal family and princess Akshita were seen engaged in dousing the raging inferno in several places under Bangiriposi range in the Similipal reserve.


The mother and daughter of the erstwhile Bhanj Deo dynasty had rushed to Talabandha village near Bangiriposi yesterday and held a meeting with the locals in a bid to create awareness about  man-made forest fire. They urged people to work together for the conservation of forests.

Later, the royal scions visited Tangadhua, Raipal and Badampur villages under the range where several forests were blazing for the last couple of days. The queen and princess accompanied locals residents to the forests and joined them in extinguishing flames.

As many as 18 places in northern parts of the Similipal are still on fire. Four forests under Talabandha range and six under Kendumundi range are burning even as the fire continues to spread to four forests under Gurugudia and three forests in Barehipani range.

According to reports, six fire brigade teams along with 1100 fire personnel have been pressed into service to douse the flames.

The Similipal biosphere reserve which is home to Royal Bengal tigers supports 94 species of orchids and about 3,000 species of plants.

The identified species of fauna include 12 species of amphibians, 264 species of birds, 29 species of reptiles, and 42 species of mammals, all of which collectively highlight the biodiversity richness of the national park.