Simlipal forest fire is totally under control and no life was lost in the blaze, the forest fire task force chief said on March 9. A massive fire ripped through vast tracts of Simlipal National Park in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, raising concern among wildlife and environmental activists over its possible impact.
According to Dr Sandeep Tripathy, the chief of the task force on forest fire, "prompt action" was taken by the field staffers to control the inferno, and several fire points were brought under control, with no damage caused to wildlife or humans.
"The sustained proactive actions of the government and rigorous work by field staff has led to total containment of fire in Simlipal," Tripathy said.
On March 9, Simlipal had only 26 fire points and those were doused by field staff, he added.
The state deployed two teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) to contain the fire at Simlipal National Park, which is one of the major biospheres of Asia.
Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra also reviewed the situation during a meeting with district collectors, divisional forest officers, senior police officers on March 9.
He asked the officials to intensify night patrolling around the affected zones, and avert crisis situations, if any, at the "quickest possible time", as per a government release.
The Odisha government on March 8 constituted a task force to review forest fire incidents and suggest immediate containment measures.
The nine-member task force was formed under the chairmanship of the former principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Sandeep Tripathy.
It has members from the Central and state government, civil society and community, which will suggest further steps for the prevention of forest fires in the state.
The force will also assess the causes behind the incidents of forest fire and suggest measures for its immediate containment, said a notification of the forest department.
The forest fire that broke out in Similipal about a fortnight ago created a nationwide hue and cry drawing the attention of the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar, who sought a report on the fire situation.