Chamarajanagara, Feb 27: Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday conducted an aerial survey of the damages to the Bandipur national park and Tiger Reserve and surrounding forests and said the forest fire was brought under control.
The chief minister who inspected the burnt forests to the extent of over 8000 acres said the fire was contained with the help of Indian Air Force Helicopters and large number of forest staff and volunteers to bring down the fire. Two IAF helicopters had worked for three days though the day to douse the wild fire in the forest range and one of the aircraft was kept as standby after the IAF pilots had done a commendable job in containing the forest fire.
Though the forest fire brought under control but smoke and ash seen all over the Bandipur forest range including Gopalaswamy hills today, where the worst affected during the forest fire since last six days.
Forest officials with their staff began patrolling all the ranges along with volunteers to extinguishing live embers and arresting any fresh fire in the forest, again. Meanwhile 30 staff members each from Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and M M Hills wildlife divisions were sent back as the jathra festival at the hill shrine during Maha Shivaratri.
While one IAF helicopter was kept as standby, the other was sent back to its air station in Bengaluru. After the row over bureaucratic handling of the fire, the government posted a full-time IFS officer T Balachandra as conservator of forests and field director of Bandipur.
With the entire department working 24X7 to contain the fire in Bandipur C Jayaram, Chief Wildlife Warden said the fire incident spanning five days was the worst in the history of the department. While many blamed it on officials, Jayaram claimed that officials handled the situation efficiently. (UNI)