Palamu Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand records 1,600 forest fires in 2022

The Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) of Jharkhand has witnessed small- or big forest fire incidents around 1,600 times this year, a senior official said. However, there is no report of any damage to wild animals due to the fire incidents.

“Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India (FSI), which gets to know about these through real-time satellite observation, have alerted the authorities many a time,” PTR Deputy Director Kumar Ashish said.

“Our fire-fighting team swung into action and douse the flames soon after we receive such information from the FSI,” he said. Fire had broken out at least 600 times in the northern part of the PTR and 1,000 times in the southern part. “We are facing challenges to address sudden forest fire incidents in the absence of adequate manpower,” he said.

Of the four forest ranges under PTR, only Kutku in Garhwa district has a range officer while such posts in Betla, East and West Chipadohar of neighbouring Latehar district are lying vacant. The total area of PTR is 1,129.93 square kilometres. It was formed in 1974 under Project Tiger. An awareness drive is on to sensitise local people about forest fire incidents.

“We have 60 trackers to keep a vigil on wildlife and forest or to launch rescue operation during a mishap in PTR,” the official said. “There was information that PTR has only one tiger but four months ago, three sets of pugmarks were found,” he said.

“A detailed report was sent to the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun to ascertain whether they belong to a single animal or not,” Mr. Ashish said. Besides, the PTR has elephants, leopards, grey wolves, gaurs, sloth bears, antelopes and other animals.

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