Jaipur: A fire raged within Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve for the fourth day Wednesday. However, the flames were now confined to just one pocket. The blaze was controlled after a fire-fighting operation involving 200 people and two IAF helicopters, officials said.
“The fire was brought under control by nearly 80 per cent till Wednesday evening. The flames are left on just one hillock now,” Rajasthan’s Principal Secretary-Forest Sreya Guha informed. At one time the wildfire had spread over an area 10 sq km in the forest reserve in Alwar district.
Guha said once the fire is under full control, an assessment of the total area scorched by the blaze will begin. “Our top priority is to control the fire,” she stated.
Earlier in the day, a forest official said the situation, developing since Sunday, was now ‘almost under control’ in areas with thick easy-burning dry grass. But in the morning, flames still raged across a swathe of four or five square kilometres of Sarsika Tiger Reserve. By evening, however, the fire had died down considerably.
Four adult tigers and five cubs move around the area where the fire broke out. But officials claimed no tiger was stuck in the area. The reserve in Alwar district has 27 tigers.
The blaze had started Sunday evening and was brought under control Monday. But it flared again the same evening and continued through Tuesday, spreading quite rapidly.
“Two SDRF teams comprising a total of 25 personnel have been deployed. They assisted the forest staff in the manual dousing of the fire and stopping the spread of the flames by digging trenches,” commandant Pankaj Chaudhary said.