NEW DELHI :
A massive fire that broke out at the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Sunday has spread its way to around 10 sq km by Tuesday evening. To help put out the fire, Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed two Mi 17 V5 helicopters to undertake Bambi Bucket operations.
In a video released by the IAF, choppers can be seen attempting to put out the fire.
“At the behest of Alwar Dist. admin to help control the spread of fire over large areas of Sariska Tiger Reserve the IAF has deployed two Mi 17 V5 helicopters to undertake Bambi Bucket operations. Fire Fighting Operations are underway since early morning today,” read a tweet by the IAF twitter account.
The forest department asked six villages to take precautions and avoid going inside the forest area.
The fire broke out in the Baletha area of the Reserve and has spread to Rodkela, Narandi, Kalakadi, Katighati, and Naharsati areas due to a heavy presence of dry grassland and bamboo in the region.
“The temperatures have been much above normal in the northwest for this time of the year. Thus, any forest fire that starts will spread quickly as the fuel (biomass) is extremely desiccated,” said Raman Sukumar, Professor, IISc.
Another concern for the forest department was the movement of the tigress ST-17 along with her two cubs in the affected area. However, in many cases, it has been seen that big animals have a tendency to find a safe place in such circumstances. The tigress along with her cubs was spotted in this area on March 26. Two more tigers ST-20 and ST-14 were making movement in the Rodkela forest block.
Sariska Tiger Reserve is well nestled in the Aravali Hills covering 800 sq km area divided into grasslands, dry deciduous forests, sheer cliffs and rocky landscape.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.
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