The scorching heat coupled with the August floods of 2018 which resulted in landslides that uprooted trees and destroyed water sources, extending land area has seen wildfires, destroying acres of forest across Kerala. Top forest sources said that State’s two of the big wildlife sanctuaries had already been closed to tourists.
The forest department is to undertake a major assessment of the forests destroyed by wildfires, preliminary assessment showed that roughly more than 400 acres has been lost in the last two months. There has been a spurt in day temperature and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has warned of a 2 to 8 degree Celsius rise over the next few days, especially in Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.
According to forest department, the detailed study to be undertaken would also look at preventive measures as summer is yet to peak and over the next three months more areas would turn vulnerable. Mannarkad in Palakkad district had been the worst hit. Grasslands, dry deciduous forests and thorny scrub areas were the most affected in Agali and Attappadi.
Top forest sources said most of the wildlife sanctuaries like Silent Valley and Parambikulam had been closed to tourists. More sanctuaries would be closed in the coming days as rising temperatures could pose a big threat to forests and it was important to keep visitors away during this time.