Dehradun, May 8 : A fire that spread in the Jim Corbett National Park on May 3 lasted for four days, damaging its southern area, despite continuous efforts by the Forest Department to douse it.
Fire extinguishers were deployed at the site and tourists were not allowed in the park.
Corbett National Park Director Rajiv Bhartri said: "Villagers burn dry leaves outside the forest. This man made fire on May 3 spread through the forest due to the flow of the wind in that direction. Summer heat exacerbated the situation as the wood becomes dry due to paucity of water."
Animals learn about the fire in the forest in advance and therefore change their territories. No incident of animal harm has been reported so far, said Bhartri.
A similar forest fire in 2005 claimed at least two to three lives and injured many.
Besides destroying forest cover the forest fires damages soil, grasses, medicinal plants and wildlife and cause rise in temperature, pollution and deplete water table.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas is the Corbett National Park was established in 1936. Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is famous for its wild population of Tigers, Leopards and Elephants.
The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics. An ecotourism destination, it contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna. The increase in tourist activities, among other problems, continues to present a serious challenge to the park's ecological balance. By Vibhav Porov