Madikeri: A fire in the hill in the vicinity of Raja Seat destroyed over 15 acres of garden yesterday afternoon. The fire was later brought under control.
Thousands of people visit the Raja Seat Gardens especially for the mesmerising sunrise and sunset.
The fire was noticed at the watch tower at about at 2 pm and it engulfed almost half of the hill range by evening.
The inferno could not be controlled due to the strong wind and also as the Fire Service personnel could not reach the spot as the conditions were hostile. Since it is a steep area, Fire Service personnel could not take the extinguishers there. With the help of locals, the Police tried to douse the fire. Tourists were evacuated from the place and the surroundings of the fire were blocked.
Valuable trees and bushes were gutted in the fire. According to Forest Department officials, some miscreants would have either intentionally set the dry grass on fire or the fire could have been caused due to a burning cigarette butt.
A large number of tourists had visited Raja Seat during Christmas and there was entry to the watch tower as well.