Reaching essentials:Heat from forest fires in Bandipur is severe enough to get the guards dehyderated.M.A. SRIRAM
Logistics entailing transport of food and water to the beleaguered watchers and guards engaged in dousing forest fires in remote interiors of Bandipur is turning out to be a major challenge and critical to the success of the current operations.
Bandipur National Park, spread over 874.78 sq. km, has been ravaged by fire and hundreds of staff have been deployed in fire-prone areas such as N. Begur, Gundre, Kundkere, Hediyala, Moleyuru, and Omkara, where the vegetation is now bone dry and almost 350 of the 370 waterbodies in the national park are completely dry.
Last week’s fire
Last week’s fire at Kundkere claimed the life of a forest guard and nearly 600 to 900 acres is suspected to have been ravaged in both the Kundkere and N. Begur ranges. About 50 cans of water, each of 25-litre capacity, was transported to the forest guards on Thursday, besides fruits and other food items.
An additional 15 staff from the division are on standby to provide relief to the guards engaged in firefighting.
Meanwhile, the Mysore zoo has transported 200 kg of bananas and 500 kg of watermelons, besides 25 water cans to help the ongoing exercise.
To supplement the existing staff at Bandipur, 40 employees from the Mysuru Territorial Division from H.D. Kote, Nanjangud and Sargur subdivisions have been deployed to provide logistic support and transport drinking water and food to the guards.
“The unprecedented heat this year, coupled with dry vegetation, is taking a severe toll on the staff. The focus is on providing timely drinking water and food to them,” said V. Karikalan, DCF, Mysuru Territorial Division. However, an NGO volunteering at the site said the thirst is so severe that one litre of bottled water does not last more than 30 minutes.
“There is risk of dehydration. Delivery of food and water is critical,” said a volunteer.