Fire dousing operation continues today
Bandipur/ Mysuru: The operation by two Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers to douse the raging fire in Bandipur Reserve Forest and adjoining Gopalaswamy Hill Forest range, which began yesterday afternoon and stopped after it got dark last evening, continued this morning, the sixth day of the raging fire.
Following the request by the State Government yesterday to the IAF to help contain the raging fire in Bandipur Tiger Reserve forest, the IAF which sent two helicopters (Mi-17 V5) for the joint operations have managed to douse the raging fire to some extent in Bandipur and Gopalaswamy Hill forest areas.
The two IAF choppers, which arrived at Bandipur yesterday morning and after a short discussion between the IAF officials and the Forest Department authorities, flew over the forest area and conducted a survey and also the availability of water nearby. After holding another round of discussions with the Forest officials, the IAF choppers began their operations.
After drawing water from Nugu Dam in ‘Bambi Buckets’ (a small water tank held by a cable to the helicopter), the helicopters flew over the raging fire and sprayed water.
Following the dousing operation by the two choppers, the raging fire at Moolehole Range in Bandipur has been completely doused. But the fire at Chammanahalla Range is to be doused, as the choppers stopped their operation following darkness.
An Air Force statement said “A total of 10 sorties have been flown by the two helicopters spraying approximately 30,000 Iitres of water to fight the fire in the region. After the day’s operations, the helicopters have been positioned at Mysuru and will commence the fire fighting operations at sunrise.”
Meanwhile, the State Government has placed a request with the Centre to send two more helicopters for the operation.
Forest Minister Satish Jarakiholi, who is in Bandipur and supervising the dousing operations, told reports at Gopalaswamy Hill that a case has been registered against a person accused of igniting fire in the forest but refused to tell who that person was.
As of now, the Forest Department personnel have taken one Arulkumar of Kallipura into custody and are interrogating him, but it is not known whether a case has been registered against him.
Photos of burnt animals are not of Bandipur
Photos of animals charred to death, which are doing rounds in the social media following the horrific forest fire in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, are from different parts of the world, taken at different times and not of Bandipur.
The Forest officials said that the photos of a charred rabbit, monkey, snake and other animal, which are doing rounds in the social media projecting them as dead animals found in Bandipur, was fake. The Forest authorities have requested the public not to forward or pay heed to such fake news.
The authorities have stated that no wild animals were found dead till now due to the fire at Bandipur and surrounding forest areas.
Yaduveer urges public to help douse fire
Meanwhile, titular head of the Mysuru Royal Family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar has urged the public through his Facebook page to extend their help in dousing the fire.
He has stated that he is pained to learn about the fire which has destroyed thousands of acre of forest land at Bandipur.
The Forest Department needs volunteers and hence the public should co-operate and help douse the fire, he has stated besides asking to send food items, water bottles, glucose powder packets, fruits, medicines and fire extinguishing materials to the check-post at the entrance of Bandipur.
Precautions were not taken: MP R. Dhruvanarayan
Meanwhile, Chamarajanagar MP R. Dhruvanarayan has said that, if the Forest Department had taken all necessary precautions earlier, this devastation of forests by fire could have been prevented.
Speaking to the media in Mysuru, he said that the Forest Department had not taken enough precautionary measures to prevent the fire which led to such major fire mishap and added that the truth behind it would come out only after a thorough probe.
Help forest staff
The Forest Department has urged the public, organisations and individuals to help the forest staff, Fire and Emergency Service personnel and volunteers, who are working day and night to control the fire, by providing fruits, water bottles etc.
Those willing to help can give water bottles, five litres water can, non-spicy packed food, fruits such as watermelon, banana, orange, sweet lime (Mosambi), grapes, apple, glucose packets, juice bottles, ORS (liquid), chocolates, biscuits, torch, masks, gloves and other such items.
A counter has been opened at the Mysuru Zoo gate facing Race Course and those willing to give the above things can deposit the items there and take a receipt for the same. A truck load of fruits, water and other items has already been sent from the Zoo to Bandipur on Monday.