Firefighters trying to extinguish the fire in Silent Valley National Park.
Palakkad: The officials of the forest department, fire watchers and public were up on toes to extinguish a massive forest fire that engulfed the buffer zone of Silent Valley National Park two days ago.
Almost four hectares of forest land have been engulfed by the fire. The officials of the forest department told mathrubhumi.com that the fire is man-made one and an investigation has been ordered to trace the people behind it.
The fire reportedly started from near a tribal settlement in Ambalapara and later spread to Anavayi, Thuruthichal and Thathengalam. The rain on Tuesday night helped extinguish it to some extent and officials said the fire has been brought under control. Soon after the rain, humidity rose and the fire subsided on its own in many areas. No damages have been reported.
“It was eight years ago that a fire broke out here last time. There was a deposit of dry leaves and it worked as a catalyst to spread the fire. However, the timely intervention of our team, with the help of volunteers, helped bring the fire under control,” said S Vinod, DCF and Wildlife Warden, Silent Valley National Park.
He also said that all forest fires in Kerala are man-made. “There are some myths among the people here that forest fires help drive away wild animals and protect crops. In fact, it is a wrong notion as forest fires naturally enrich soil and thus in turn enhances the growth of forest. Naturally, more and more wild animals reach out through the grown forest,” said Vinod.
These forest fires affect the water level in Bharathapuzha river as its tributaries such as Bhavani, Kundhi and all originate here, he added. “There will be acute water shortage in the vicinity during the coming summer too,” Vinod added.
According to the information provided by the officials of the department, the temperature in the buffer zone was 24 degree celsius and the humidity too is high. “The chances for a natural fire were minimal and we can clearly suspect the involvement of human hand,” said an official.