Gujarat: Wildfire breaks out near sanctuary for lions in Amreli; hundreds battle blaze, no casualties

A wildfire broke out on a large patch of grassland near sanctuary for Asiatic lions in Amreli district, Gujarat but was brought under control on a large area before it could affect wildlife

Representative Photo
Representative Photo
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PTI

A wildfire broke out on a large patch of grassland near the sanctuary for Asiatic lions in Gujarat's Amreli district but it was brought under control on a large area before it could affect lions and other wildlife, an official said on Saturday.

The blaze, which erupted on Friday evening, has been nearly brought under control by over 300 forest personnel and firefighters, the official said.

"No animal casualty has been reported in the blaze so far and the area will be scanned for the next three days," he said.

The fire broke out in the bushes and tall grass on a hillock in the revenue area near the Mitiyala wildlife sanctuary, which is a protected area for Asiatic lions, and soon spread across 250 acres, the official said.

Some of the patches were still burning and efforts were underway to douse the flames, he said.

The fire on a majority of the area was brought under control before it could spread to the protected area and affect lions and other wildlife, Amreli collector Gaurang Makwana said.

"The fire has mostly been brought under control with the help of around 300 forest personnel and 10 fire tenders with 40 firefighters. Some of the patches where the fire tenders could not reach are still burning, and efforts are underway to control it," the official said.

"Mitiyala forest range, which is located nearby, remains protected from the fire. We did not let the fire reach a rivulet that divides the two areas," he said.


Incidents of fire were not unusual in the area. Lions in these areas rush into the forest before they are affected by fires, the collector said, adding that no animal carcasses have been found so far and the area will be scanned for the next three days.

Around 300 personnel of three forest ranges of Gir (East), Shetrunjay and Amreli social forestry, including officers, trackers, wildlife friends and locals, were involved in controlling the blaze, a forest official said.

"We have not registered any casualty of any wildlife, especially lions, and the area is being scanned," he said.

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