Forest fires engulf Marayur

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Forest officials say most of the wildfires are man-made

The Marayur area of Anchunadu valley is witnessing severe drought with large areas of forest and private land already engulfed in wildfires.

Forest Department officials are working hard to control the fire which has already destroyed 11 ha of forestland.

An official of the Forest Department said that 23 cases of wildfires were reported in a month.

“There is evidence that most of the wildfires are man-made,” he said, adding that the remoteness of the area and hilly topography often prevented the anti-fire squad from reaching there.

Marayur range officer Job J. Neryamparambil sustained burns while trying to control fire at Puravayal on Thursday.

Dried grasslands

It was three weeks ago that the first major fire was reported on Murugan Hill, a historically important place known for the presence of several dolmen. T

he fire engulfed the entire hill before it could be brought under control.

The dried grasslands make it difficult to bring the fire under control, sources said here.

For the past 10 days, wildfires were being reported and they had engulfed almost all the grasslands in Marayur and Kanthallur.

Wildfires were reported from Karpoorakudy, Kudakkadu, Anchanattupara, Puravayal, Karimutty, and Korakkadavu in Marayur grama panchayat and Ollavayal, Peradipallom, Vettukadu, Theethamala and Chanalmedu in Kanthallur grama panchayat.

This was in addition to the wildfires being reported from inside the forest area, he added.

New squads

Meanwhile, the Forest Department has formed seven new fire squads comprising five members each to counter the wildfire. They are deputed at Karpoorakudy, Koyamala, Nellipetty, Mattumthara, Puravayal, Babunagar and Indiranagar.

The wildfires continued on Friday also destroying nearly 12 acres of coffee cultivation at Keezhanthur. Local people brought the fire under control. An official of the Fire and Rescue Services said that wildfires the areas were inaccessible, making the work more difficult.

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