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Guarding Bandipur ecosystem: Karnataka forest dept implements fire lines for wildfire defense

In response to the 2019 forest fire in Bandipur National Park, the Karnataka Forest Department has initiated a 2780-kilometer fire line construction project. Controlled fires along roads create barriers to prevent uncontrolled wildfires. 125 new fire lines have been established and are maintained by daily-wage workers. With reduced rainfall increasing fire risk, 470 fire watchers work proactively to protect the diverse wildlife of Bandipur. Forest Conservator Ramesh Kumar underscores the crucial role of these measures.

Guarding Bandipur ecosystem: Karnataka forest dept implements fire lines for wildfire defense vkp
First Published Jan 12, 2024, 11:54 AM IST

To provide a shield to the picturesque Bandipur National Park from the looming threat of forest fires, the Karnataka Forest Department has initiated a comprehensive fire line construction project. This move comes in the aftermath of the devastating fire that marred the beauty of the forest in 2019, prompting heightened vigilance from forest protection officials.

The fire line construction involves a strategic process wherein forest guards deliberately set controlled fires within the forest. This is done along both sides of roads to create a barrier that can effectively control the spread of any potential forest fires. By pre-burning the dry grass and undergrowth, the forest department aims to minimize the risk of uncontrolled wildfires.

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Covering a staggering 2780 kilometres, the fire lines are meticulously marked across Bandipur. Additionally, 125 new fire lines have been identified and established, according to Bandipur Forest Conservator Ramesh Kumar. The continuous maintenance of these fire lines is a collaborative effort, requiring the recruitment of daily-wage workers from January to May.

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Bandipur has enlisted over 470 fire watchers, who diligently work from 9 am to 5 pm, arriving in forest department vehicles. Their tasks include cutting small bushes and setting controlled fires, followed by extinguishing them with green leaves sourced from the forest. This proactive approach is crucial, especially with the district experiencing a shortage of rainfall, heightening the risk of forest fires.

Forest Conservator Ramesh Kumar emphasized the importance of these measures in protecting the diverse wildlife inhabiting Bandipur. The fear of fires has intensified due to the reduced rainfall in the region, making the forest department's precautions all the more crucial.

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