Fires ravage forests, grasslands suffer extensive damage
Burnt area
TRIVANDRUM, June 20, 2009:

Area burnt in forest fires has been increasing in recent years in Kerala. The peak was in 2003-04 when more than 15500 hectares caught fire. Though the next year saw fewer fires, it kept on increasing in the subsequent years. This year, nearly 1000 fires have been official reported from different parts of the State. the actual number may even be higher.

A large portion of the burnt areas were grasslands. About 90 per cent of the grasslands in the Periyar Tiger Reserve and Sanctuary burned. Vegetation in about 75 hectares of shola grasslands at Chembra peak and Manikunnumala in Wayanad were also destroyed. Shola grasslands caught fire in Eravikulam National Park also. Fires also damaged large areas of forests around Muthanga in Wayanad district.

A large number of forest fires have been reported from neighbouring States of Kerala also. Fires occurred  at many places in the Bandipur and Nagarahold National parks of Karnataka and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu A few fires were reported from the Kalakkad and other sanctuaries of Tamil Nadu.

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