Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fire sweeps Gir forest

Fire sweeps Gir forest
Times of India

Lions Safe, Winds May Fan Blaze

Junagadh: Forest fire raged across tall grasslands of the Mitiala range of Khamba in Gir (east) through Tuesday and Wednesday. Although no loss of life has been reported, the blaze has spread across 300 hectares of the sanctuary. While much of the fire has been brought under control, the danger hasn't diminished as the region has been hit by strong winds.

Gir is the last refuge of the endangered Asiatic lions, with a core area of 258 sq km. The entire expanse of the Sasan-Gir sanctuary spreads over 1153 km.

"We first sent a 200-strong team of forest officials and fire-fighters on Tuesday. We increased the numbers to 500 by Wednesday,'' said M M Sharma, conservator of forest, Junagadh. "Officials were confident of containing it, but the fire spread,'' Sharma said.

"This area houses about 18 lions and they basically form a floating population. But no loss to wildlife has been reported,'' he said, adding, "Either it was an accidental blaze or somebody played a mischief. We are not ruling out anything.'' TNN


Blaze started at 4 pm on Tuesday Around 400 hectares of land burnt in Mityana, a part of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary More than 200 forest personnel called in to fight the fire
Blaze brought under control late Wednesday morning, but fire still burning The area is 20 km east of the core area in Amreli district and has tall grass patches The lions in the area have fled to other parts, wardens said But dislocated lions, a fiercely territorial animal, could become disoriented and create problems, even fights with other lions
No sabotage suspected and fire could be accidental in the area which has received no rainfall since September 2008


Number of lions in Gir | 349
Gir only place in the world where Asiatic lions live in the wild
A plan to create a second home by relocating a few lions to a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh rejected by Gujarat


Jan 23, '09 | A small fire in Dalkhania range in Gir east controlled in 40 minutes
April 04, '08 | Dry grass spread over 125 hectares of land in Hadada range in Gir east
March 13, '08 | 85 hectares of land in fire near between Ghantula hill and Hanuman Gala in the Tulshishyam range
Jan 22, '08 | 500 hectares of fire in Mityala range in Savarkundla

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