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On fire:Wildfire raging in the Kannampady forest area under the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday evening. —
KATTAPPANA: The wildfire that destroyed 10 hectares of grasslands in Koottakal and Choriyanthandu areas of the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary was brought under control on Monday by the joint efforts of forest officials, activists of the Eco-Development Committee (EDC) and a Fire and Rescue team from Cheruthoni.
According to official estimates, four hectares at Kootakal and six hectares at Choriyanthandu were destroyed by the fire which started on Sunday.
A senior official of the Forest Department said it was likely that the fires were created by anti-social elements. An inquiry would be conducted into the incident. According to Range Officer S. Baburaj, six EDCs were active in the sanctuary in addition to forest watchers.
Unconfirmed reports said that hundreds of acres were destroyed by the fire which engulfed Kuravanmala near the dam area. An official of the Fire and Rescue Services Department at Cheruthoni said the fires near the Vidyadhi Raja School and behind the police station in Cheruthoni were brought under control on Monday. The Kathitheppan and Bhimanchuvadu areas also witnessed forest fires which were brought under control on Sunday itself.
Meanwhile, the forest fire which destroyed nearly four acres of land near the Mullaperiyar dam area under the Periyar Tiger Reserve, was brought under control.
Forest Minister Benoy Viswom, in a statement in Thiruvananthapuram, called upon all to prevent forest fires during this summer. Caution by all was needed in preventing accidental igniting of fires and in checking the spread of fires. In the past, he had received reports of some people deliberately setting fire to forests. The support and participation of the general public was needed to check such practices.
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