A fire broke out in Daser Bharani area of Sarankhola Range of Sundarbans East Forest Division on Monday, May 3, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

A committee has been formed to investigate the incident and submit a report within a week’s time

The fire that broke out in the Daser Bharani area under the Sarankhola Range of Sundarbans East Forest Division has been fully doused after 30 hours.

Md. Golam Sarwar, deputy director of Bagerhat Fire Service and Civil Defence, announced the conclusion of their operation at 4pm on Tuesday.

Three firefighting units from Bagerhat, Morrelganj and Sarankhola worked from Tuesday morning to douse the blaze.

Md Belayet Hossain, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans East Forest Department, said: “Firefighting activities were halted after sundown last night and resumed today [Tuesday] at break of dawn.”

He said the exact cause of the fire was yet to be determined.

The Department of Forest has commissioned a three-member committee to investigate the incident and submit a report within a week’s time.

“Joynal Abedin, assistant forest conservator (Sarankhola Range) of the Sundarbans East Forest Department, will be leading the investigation to determine the cause of the fire,” said the DFO.

Sarankhola Fire Service Station Officer AH Sattar said the fire had burned about 10 acres of forest. However not much damage was caused by the fire as there were no valuable trees in the area.

Meanwhile, Fire Service Deputy Director Md Golam Sarwar said that the spot where the fire broke out was about 5-6km off the locality.

Also read – Fire in the Sundarbans again

“We installed 4.5km pipes to supply water for putting out the blaze,” he said.

Wadud Akon, co-chairman of the Sundarbans management committee, said the locality and forest had merged following the death of the Bhola River. 

“People are entering the Sundarbans at random, due to which fires break out in the Sundarbans again and again. Therefore, in the interest of protecting the Sundarbans, the Bhola River and its tributaries need to be dredged,” he said.

On Monday, hundreds of residents of surrounding villages rushed to the spot as soon as they heard of the fire.

Alongside the Forest Department and Fire Service, they too worked to bring the fire under control and constructed a fireline by removing flammable materials and digging down to the mineral soil, to prevent the fire from spreading further.

The villagers said the only water source in the area, the Mora Bhola River, was almost a kilometre away from the scene and so it took longer to get the blaze under control. 

On February 8, 400 acres of forest land were damaged in another fire at Dhansagar station under Chadpai Range of the Sundarbans.

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