Similipal National Park Faces Widespread Wildfires Amidst Odisha’s Heatwave

Baripada: Similipal National Park in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district is grappling with a severe wildfire outbreak as 30 locations within the park have been engulfed by flames due to the prevailing dry spell and intense heatwave. The majority of these fires have been detected in the Gudgudiya range, with 10 already extinguished through the use of fire blower machines and restoration of fire lines.

The Forest Department has mobilized 370 fire protection squads and 330 firefighting vehicles to combat the escalating situation. Additionally, approximately 4,800 blower machines have been deployed at ground level to contain the spread of fires.

The severity of the situation was highlighted by the detection of 13 fire points within Similipal on Saturday alone, coinciding with temperatures soaring beyond 45 degrees Celsius in the district. Mayurbhanj is forecasted to remain under the grip of a severe heatwave for the next 24 hours.

Regional Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), Prakash Chand Gogineni, confirmed the outbreak of fires, specifying eight points within the north division and five within the south division of STR.

Recent data from the Forest Survey of India (FSI) reveals a surge in forest fire incidents across Odisha, with nearly 1,400 wildfire points detected on Saturday alone. Of these, 117 were within the Baripada circle, of which STR is a part. Notably, fire points were identified in 16 locations, including Nawana, Joranda, Jodapal, Dhudruchampa, Badamakabadi, and Rajabasa, spanning Similipal reserve forest and Mayurbhanj reserve forest within STR’s Baripada division.

The situation remains critical, with the number of large fire points increasing to 127 within a span of 24 hours. Authorities continue their efforts to contain the wildfires and mitigate further damage to the region’s rich biodiversity.

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