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Jungle fires plaguing Kurseong sub-division area

KURSEONG : It is pure negligence of the people that is making jungle fires regular in the hinterlands of Kurseong sub-division to affect forest cover and wildlife it to a considerable extent. Reports say that during the ongoing month, several minor and major jungle fires have been reported in the Kurseong region. A total of nine such fires have been recorded by the Fire & Emergency Services Station of town. The reports claim damage and areas comprising several acres of forest land have been affected including the wildlife living there. Talking to reporters today, the Kursong Fire & Emergency Services Station officer- in-charge Dambar Bahadur Thapa said several jungle fires have been reported in and around Kurseong within the span of a few days and three of them were major incidents. They occurred at Tindharay Cricket Bazaar forest area, Makaibari forest area and in the Ambatay-Shirisey forest area. The fire at Ambatay-Shirsey forest occurred late night destroying approximately 5,000 sq ft of forest area. 

According to Thapa, last night’s fire occurred in two separate places in Ambatay and the second incident was a major one as fire brigade personnel had to put in extra hard efforts to douse the raging blaze. There was a high possibility of the fire spreading into Ambatay’s residential areas, he said, adding the blaze finally brought under control in around 3am on Friday morning. Thapa said there are various reasons behind fire incidents, but people must understand that negligence is the most important cause of all, be it in a house or in the forest. He further said the current hot weather has heated up the air and in such a situation, almost all things, including trees and plants, have dried up. Therefore, a small error or negligence can invite a major devastating tragedy and everyone should be wary of this.

Items such as a burning matchstick or even lighted cigarette butts should not be thrown about carelessly. As per the forest department sources, several acres of forest land and wild habitat in and around the hill region have been affected within the course of a month largely due to such jungle fires. Forest officials said forest cover cannot be saved by the department without the cooperation of the locals. It is vital that not only the forest department, but the locals too, who live on the fringes of forestland, must take the responsibility of saving the environment and preserve the green and lively forest covers. 

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