Two days after a massive forest fire broke out at the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, efforts are still on to put out the blaze, according to locals. Spread across an area of over 100 square km, Bandhavgarh is one of the most popular national parks in India in the Vindhya Hills of the Umaria district, about 470 km from state capital Bhopal; it is known for Royal Bengal tigers.
The fire is believed to have spread to several zones including one of the three major zones- Magdi. Frightening visuals showed trees engulfed in blaze and vast expanse of grasslands covered in plumes of smoke.
Inadequate resources are believed to one of the reasons, sources said, that it's taking so long to douse the forest fire. Locals have said the authorities did not take timely action when the blaze broke out.
massive forest fire broke out at the #Bandhavgarh National Park efforts are still on to put out the blaze. Locals are saying Bandhavgarh national park is burning from 29th march 2021 night but steps were not taken to resolve the issue pic.twitter.com/4t5Lm1PuLg— Anurag Dwary (@Anurag_Dwary) March 31, 2021
This is the second tiger reserve where a forest fire has raised concern among environmentalists and conservationists. Earlier this month, a similar incident was reported at Odisha's Similipal Reserve. Disturbing images from the Similipal forest in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha captured in bright orange flames in the night.
At Bandhavgarh, visited by a large number of tourists annually, Magdi Zone is often under the focus of the park authorities to provide "more opportunity to spot tigers," according to the official website.
"Elephant shows are also organized in Magdi zone of the Bandhavgarh national park to increase the chances of spotting the elusive king of the jungle," it says. "Over the years, the park has shown a great number of increases in the count of the tiger species and this is the reason why tiger tours is so famed to attract large amount of tourists at its vicinity," it further stresses.
On social media, several users shared pictures and videos to urge authorities to take quick action.
#Bandhavgarh is burning, the forests I have grown up in are on fire. And LITERALLY nothing hurts more than this. Except for the fact that I am not there right now helping the frontline staff in controlling it— Suyash Keshari (@suyashkeshari96) March 30, 2021
We need more support please sir @mptfs@JansamparkMP@MPTourismpic.twitter.com/8FfITjQdHG
We have just received news from Bandhavgarh that a forest fire is raging in the Khitauli area, the cause is thought to be human revelry as #Holi celebrations continue into the night. It reminds us why more safe waterholes are needed for wild #Tigershttps://t.co/RGFgcgWSCbpic.twitter.com/Ml4XcNXFSp— Tigers4Ever (@Tigers4Ever2010) March 29, 2021
"#Bandhavgarh is burning, the forests I have grown up in are on fire. And LITERALLY nothing hurts more than this. Except for the fact that I am not there right now helping the frontline staff in controlling it We need more support please We need more support please," tweeted Suyash Keshari, a wildlife photographer and filmmaker.
"We have just received news from Bandhavgarh that a forest fire is raging in the Khitauli area, the cause is thought to be human revelry as #Holi celebrations continue into the night. It reminds us why more safe waterholes are needed for wild #Tigers https://goto.gg/34315," Tigers4Ever, a non-profit tweeted.