Padijarethara: Majority of grassland and vegetation of the Banasura Hills near here in the Wayanad district has been consumed by raging forest fires. The fire, which had spread from Vellamunda, Vlarakunnu and Vellamada regions, started at around 8 pm on Friday, said rescue workers.
It is feared that the wildfires would also dry up many water sources originating from the Banasura Hills. Strong winds and extreme heat thwarted the efforts of the forest department officials to the douse the fire on Friday. A group of 60 people, including local residents, are battling it out to extinguish the blaze, and many sustained injuries during fire-fighting.
A forest department team headed by DFO Ranjith Kumar and section forest officer Aravindakshan and a group of local people are spearheading the rescue operations. The fire had also spread to the nearby forest region.
Three hectares of vegetation in the Ongalleri Hills in the Sugandhagiri section were destroyed in the fire. The forests of Kuravanthodu, Sugandhagiri and Amba regions of the Kalpetta section were also gutted by the inferno.