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Rainfall and hailstorm helps curb Similipal forest fire

Blazing out of control over a fortnight, the fire at Odisha’s Similipal forest division has finally been doused fully due to the heavy rainfall and hailstorm at Pithabata range, the state government said on Wednesday.Two teams of 25 members from the  Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were fighting along with 20 fire service personnel over the last fortnight.Close to 400 leaf blowers had also been put into action in Similipal.

The office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) remarked” The timely actions taken through different agencies by the State Government have resulted in the containment of the ongoing forest fire in the State to a great extent and the situation is well under control”.  “The Forest Fire Points were 290 on March 9, and the latest figure of point inside the forest is 268. The fire in Similipal is totally contained and today only 24 points are detected, which are being attended in the field,” the containment unit force formed by the Odisha government said.

A mass awareness drive has been commenced by organizingabout 600 meetings on forest fire prevention. The various stake holders are PRI members, Mission Shakti, regional tribal leaders, and volunteers from Similipal.The crew ,squads, ODRAF teams, fire personnel VSS, PRI Members were in the ground with complete awareness. Sub-collectors, BDOs, Tahsildars, and IICs have also started teaching people about the possibility of such incidents in fire vulnerable areas. These combined efforts have also been a major factor in leading to the curbing of fire in Similipal.No damage to humanlife or animal life were reported due to the fire.

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The Simlipal National Park is India’s favourite tourist destination with it’s name also being found on UNESCO list of biosphere reserves. The sprawling sanctuary covers an area of over 2,750 sq. km . It is home to number of vulnerable flora and fauna including 304 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles, 21 species of amphibians, 38 species of fish and 164 species of butterflies.

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