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Odisha govt claims ‘no lives lost’ as Similipal forest continues to burn for over a week

Despite the incident, there has been a lack of national coverage as one of the largest biosphere reserves in the country continues to battle forest fire while a lot was said during the infamous Australian bushfires of 2020.

Similipal National Park is struggling with forest fire (Picture courtesy: PTI)

A week after the forest fires were reported in Similipal National Park in Odisha, the state government had claimed that there was no loss of life in the national park fire on Wednesday (March 4). The fire which broke out in isolated places in the Similipal forest area has been raging for more than 7 days and has spread to at least 8 adjoining forests, this has sent the state government into a panic. The Odisha government sent a special team of over 1000 men to control the situation on the ground. After holding a high-level meeting with senior government officials, CM Patnaik instructed officials to be vigilant and take all precautionary measures to combat the forest fire, on Wednesday (March 4).

The statement came after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the fire situation at Similipal National Park after Union Environment, forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar sought a report on the devastating fire at the Park on March 2, which is one of the major biospheres in the country.

Additional Chief Secretary Department of Forests and Environment, Dr Mona Sharma informed that the blaze has been brought under control, as per ANI report. Sharma said that no casualties were reported so far and standard operating procedures have been issued to control the fire and no major trees have been damaged. She also informed that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife is monitoring the situation and preventive steps at the Spot.

Earlier on Tuesday Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has tweeted that “Distressed to learn about the forest fires raging in Simlipal Tiger Reserve from social media platforms. Request the urgent attention of Union Minister for Environment & Forest, Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on this alarming situation at one of the most important biosphere reserves of the country.”

Despite the incident, there has been a lack of national coverage as one of the largest biosphere reserves in the country continues to battle forest fire while a lot was said during the infamous Australian bushfires of 2020. Many locals speculate that the fires were a result of the illegal poaching and ivory smuggling in the area.

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