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Odisha is engulfed in forest fires.

Huge forest tracts have been found affected by fire in other parts of Odisha, at a time when a raging forest fire in the Similipal Biosphere in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district continues to cause concern among wildlife activists.

On Friday, 886 major fires were observed throughout India's forests, with Odisha leading the way with 233 forest fires. Odisha was followed by Telangana and Madhya Pradesh, which had 126 and 107 forest fires, respectively.

Meanwhile, the State government has sent additional firefighters to Similipal to put out the fire. Wildlife advocates in Similipal have been voicing concerns about the spread of wildfire. “The administration has full power over the situation in Similipal. It's never gotten out of hand. Fire points have arisen this year, as they have last year. It's nothing out of the ordinary. On Friday, Sashi Paul, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), said, "We are attending fire points as soon as we are told."

The most affected areas in Similipal were Podadiha and Thakurmunda, he said, adding that the core areas of Similipal which houses tigers remained unaffected.

However, the Forest and Environment Department expressed disappointment that several fires were not attended to right away.

“Despite the fact that the Forest Survey of India registered a high number of fires during these months, they were not referred to or attended to promptly, which is a cause for concern. In a letter to all divisional forest officers, Lingaraj Ota, Special Secretary in the Forest Department, said, "It is seen that about 60% of the identified fire points have only been responded to."

Mr. Ota said, "It is critical that all fire points in the field be attended to on a priority basis, and forest fires are extinguished immediately before they spread to adjacent forest areas."

The Forest Department special secretary directed DFOs to send regular reports on the number of fire points attended to, emphasizing that range officers must ensure that fire points are attended within one hour of reporting and that the range officer submits a certificate to the DFO.

The DFOs have been asked to make all-out efforts for the prevention of forest fire through effective foot patrolling, surveillance, and sensitization of Van Surakshya Samiti members and forest fringe dwellers.

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