A massive fire broke out in the Beladala forest under the Balukhand forest range along the Puri-Konark sea route, destroying several hectares of forest land in the area on Wednesday evening.
According to reports, Casuarina (Jhau) plantation on about seven to eight acres of land in No. 13 area of the forest has been damaged by the fire, Balukhand Ranger Benudhar Behera informed.
Residents of the Balukhand region spotted the fire in the nearby forest yesterday and notified forestry officials.
A team of forestry and fire officials along with locals launched a massive operation and managed to bring the flames under control within hours, reports added.
Although the exact reason for the origin of the flames is unclear, forestry officials said someone could have dropped burning bidi butts on the dry leaves strewn in the jungle, which led to the fire accident.
“Someone may have dropped flaming bidi butts in the jungle, which ignited the flames and then engulfed the huge strip of land in the forest. Three firefighters and eight tractors were deployed in the fire extinguishing operation. The blaze has been brought under control. However, officials have been ordered to guard the forest at night to ensure the fire does not happen again,” Behera said.