Safety: Commando force to deal with bush fires at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Training programme to be organised at the end of this month

Steps will be taken to enhance awareness among the local people

More fire watchers would be pressed into service for speedy action

Udhagamandalam: With the dry season just a few weeks away, a plan of action has been put in place at the 321 square kilometre Mudumalai Tiger Reserve near here to combat bush fires.

Though the recent rains have reduced to an extent the chances of bush fires breaking out in the reserve and compared to last year the vegetation was not so dry now, wildlife officials are not taking any chances.

Stating that the occurrence of forest fires was a major source of concern during this part of the year, the Field Director of the Reserve Rajiv K.Srivastava told The Hindu over phone on Saturday that a Commando Force to deal with bush fires was in the process of being formed.

A four- or five-day training programme would be organized for them towards the end of December.

Classes dealing with various aspects of bush fires would be conducted by resource persons.

Simultaneously, steps will be taken to enhance awareness among the local people.

For the first time a siren would be installed at a suitable part of the reserve to warn people about the occurrence of bush fires.

The Disaster Management Centre which came into being last year would be upgraded and provided with more equipment.

More fire watchers would be pressed into service.

Based on last year’s migration pattern, steps were being taken to provide about twenty more water troughs.

Stating that they will be filled with water transported through tankers, he said that efforts would be made to create more check dams.

Pointing out that there was enough water in some of the percolation dams, Mr.Srivastava said that activities associated with the drawing of fire lines would be taken up shortly.

Unauthorised entry into reserves will be viewed very seriously and stringent action would be taken against persons responsible for forest fires.

From THE HINDU

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