Seethathodu: Several acres of forest land in Villunnipara in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district were gutted in a massive fire that broke out on Tuesday.
The fire, which was first noticed on Tuesday morning, is spreading to more areas. The undergrowth of the forest, in the limits of Thannithodu station, has been destroyed.
Though forest officials and members of the Vana Samrakshana Samithi reached the spot, they have not been able to curb the fire so far. Inaccessibility to these regions is cited as one of the reasons for the delay. Fire engines are unable to reach the spot.
Several acres of forest land were gutted in fire in this very area last year too. Though the absence of proper equipment to mitigate such fires was brought to the notice of the authorities, no action was taken. The primitive approach of putting out the fire using branches of trees with green leaves is still used within the limits of this forest station.
The scorching heat experienced these past months have left the undergrowth of the forest dry and vulnerable to fires. This also explains the rapid spread of fire this time.
Complaints have also been made about the ineffectiveness of the Vana Samrakshana Samithi of the area in fighting forest fires. The lack of funds and expertise too were attributed for their failure.