Round-the-clock vigil over Chamundi Hill for summer fire
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Round-the-clock vigil over Chamundi Hill for summer fire

February 11, 2020

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Mysore/Mysuru: With summer fast approaching and the lush green vegetation turning dry posing potential risk of summer fire at Chamundi Hill, the Mysuru Division Forest Department personnel have created an 80 km-long fire line atop the Hill as a precautionary measure. They are also keeping a round-the-clock vigil to prevent any fire incidents.

Chamundi Hill, which houses Goddess Chamundeshwari Temple, is also a home to hundreds of birds and animals of various species and variety of plants and trees. The Hill is thronged by thousands of devotees as well as nature lovers from across the country and also abroad. As such, it is a challenge for the Forest Department to protect the Hill. Keeping in mind the safety of people and also to protect the flora and fauna of the Hill, the Department is keeping a hawk-eye vigil over the Hill to prevent fires. Carelessly thrown lit cigarette butts and miscreants deliberately lighting fire in the forest region have become a headache to the forest staff.

Tedious job 

Chamundi Hill, which is 3,489 ft. above sea level, is spread across more than 1,800 acres. Every year, it a tedious job for the forest staff to protect the Hill from fire from November to April-May. Miscreants use open spaces in the Hill to gamble, consume liquor and throw lit cigarettes and the Department has deployed 20 personnel to prevent miscreant-mischief and men have been deployed to keep a watch atop three watch towers. Watch towers are located at Kunthikal Gudda at the foot of Chamundi Hill (Race Course side), Jwalamukhi Gudda (Uttanahalli Road) and at Koodanare Gudda (Nanjangud Road) and one forest employee each is deployed on the three watch towers.

80 km fire-line created

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To prevent fire from spreading, the Forest Department has created a 35 km-long fire line around Chamundi Hill besides creating about 80 km fire-line in various places in the Hill. The fire line is three metres wide so that the fire cannot spread further into the jungle. Plants and bushes on fire line route have been removed to control fire.

Fire jet and motor sprayers

To combat fire incidents at the Hill, a water jet with 500 litres water tank with 20 forest staff is ready. A two-HP water pump is being used and water could be sprayed to about 35 to 40 ft height. Along with the water jet, seven motor water sprayers, attached to 25-litre water can each, are being used.

Awareness through street plays

Protection of forest region at Chamundi Hill is not only the responsibility of the Forest Department but is also the responsibility of everyone and the role of the residents of villages bordering Chamundi Hill is very important and also the co-operation of tourists and devotees coming to the Hill is required. 

In this backdrop, the Forest Department has been creating awareness through street plays at villages and residential areas in the Hill border — namely Tavarekatte, Lalithadripura, Hosahundi, Gowrishankaranagar, Gavimata, Chamundi village and other places.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar and Range Forest Officer (RFO) Prashanth Kumar, Deputy Range Forest Officer (DRFO) Vinutha and others are working hard for the protection and conservation of the Hill and about five rounds of beat is being undertaken daily to keep vigil.

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Precautions taken, public co-operation needed

Several precautions have been taken to protect Chamundi Hill from forest fire. Tourists and public should not throw cigarettes without stubbing them. Chamundi Hill is Mysuru’s crown and protecting it is the responsibility of all. Public should join hands with the Forest Department and help us in protecting the Hill from inferno,” Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests.

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