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Water-bombing IAF choppers help contain fire in Bandipur Tiger

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Press Trust of India Bengaluru
With Indian Air Force helicopters dumping gallons of water and firefighters toiling hard, the raging forest fire that burnt thousands of acres in Bandipur Tiger reserve has been brought under "total control", the forest department said Tuesday.
"The fire is under total control. It is not even on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border," principal chief conservator of forest C Jayaram (wildlife) told PTI.
The success could be achieved with the help of the Indian Air Force, which deployed two helicopters that ferried several gallons of water from a nearby reservoir to douse the raging flames.
State Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Punati Sridhar also said the blaze has been brought under total control.
"The wind was quite calm and the IAF choppers too contributed in controlling the fire.
Our foresters and volunteers too toiled hard to control the fire.. The damage to the wildlife is zero as they all had moved to greener pasture.
Most of the trees are intact. Mostly the grass (on large swathes) were burnt," said Sridhar.
However, the department would be vigilant for at least a week as the fire could be smouldering in some areas, the officer added.
The forest department has started a probe to find what caused the fire, extent of damage and measures to breathe life into the huge tract of land bereft of its greenery.
The blaze was first spotted about a week ago and since then efforts were on to contain it.
With the fire raging, the state government sought the help of the Indian Air Force on Monday which started its operation on a war footing.
The forest department suspects it to be an act of sabotage.
To compound the problem, five to six feet tall dry grass had come up on large swathes which helped the flames spread, according to officials.
Forest officials and fire service personnel along with hundreds of volunteers made a vain bid to douse the blaze over the past few days.

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First Published: Feb 26 2019 | 9:35 PM IST

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