The fire in Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve has engulfed over ten square kilometres.
Jaipur: Officials say a massive fire that started yesterday in Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve has spread to over 10 square kilometres, or the equivalent of 1,800 football fields. According to them, two Sariska Tiger Reserve Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters are dropping water over the affected area.
Officials say the fire threatens the territory of a tigress, codenamed ST-17 for scientific tracking, who is in the area with her two cubs. Experts believe the big cats may have suffocated.
The Sariska reserve is home to over 20 tigers.
The situation has yet to be brought under control by firefighters. Two Indian Air Force helicopters have been scooping water from Rajasthan’s Siliserh Lake and dropping it over a forest fire in Sariska, 43 kilometres away.
Due to windy conditions, three villages near the tiger reserve have been placed on high alert because the fire hasn’t died down in over 24 hours.
While the cause of the fire is unknown, the northern parts of the country have been experiencing a severe heat wave in recent days.
According to an IAF statement, two Mi-17 V5 helicopters were dispatched after the Alwar district administration issued an SOS to assist in the control of the fire “which had spread over large areas in Sariska.”
“For Bambi bucket operations, the IAF has deployed two Mi-17 V5 helicopters. The operations are still in progress “It was referring to a collapsible bucket used for lifting and dumping water or fire-retardant chemicals that was suspended from a helicopter performing firefighting operations.
The Aravalli range’s hills and narrow valleys dominate the landscape of Sariska, which has dry and deciduous forests. Leopards, wild dogs, jungle cats, hyenas, and jackals are among the carnivores that live there.
India takes stock of its tiger population every four years. In terms of the area covered and the number of people involved, this is a massive exercise.
In December of last year, the country’s tiger conservation organisation reported that 126 of the endangered big cats died in 2021, the highest number since the organisation began collecting data a decade ago.
The previous year with the most deaths was 2016, when 121 people died.
Seventy-five percent of the world’s tiger population is found in India.