Crime

Two held for setting fire in forest near Similipal National Park

Baripada: At least two persons were arrested on Monday on the charge of setting fire in Jodibill Reserve Forest near Similipal National Park, where a forest guard was burnt alive while dousing the inferno, police said.

A 58-year-old contractual guard engaged by forest department was caught in a fiery whirlwind and was charred to death on Sunday while trying to do douse the fire in Jodibill Reserve Forest, an officer of Thakurmunda police station said.

The arrested duo have been identified, he said.

The chief of forest fire task force, Sandeep Tripathy said that the state government is making all out efforts to contain the fire situation and to keep it under control.

All field staff have been directed to be on full alert and be on vigil to mitigate the fire situation. They will be joined by fire squads and other staff of the forest division, the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, fire department staff in association with panchayati paj institutions, self help groups, Vana Surakhya Samiti and local communities, he said.

Tripathy said despite sporadic rains the prevailing high temperature and low humidity conditions are helping the fire to spread.

However, the fire could be controlled as the Met office has forecast rain in the coming 3-4 days in some parts of state, he said.

Large forest fires across the state, particularly in hotter and vulnerable areas, are being attended to on priority basis. The field staff are on full alert and vigil to prevent any spread or new occurence, he said.

Continuous monitoring and review of fire situation in the state is on at different levels to keep fire situation in Odisha under control, Tripathy added.

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