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Fire engulfs Bhitarkanika National Park

April 26, 2005 20:22 IST

A major fire engulfed the Bhitarkanika National Park destroying an area of about 3 sq km of mangrove vegetation, official sources said on Tuesday.

The fire broke out in the Angani forest block. The extent of damage was yet to be ascertained, Rajnagar (mangrove) forest division, sources said.

Forest officials suspect the fire was lit by a group of honey collectors to drive away honeybees from a beehive.

Eyewitness accounts from peripheral Baunsagadi hamlet said a thick smoke enveloped the skyline after the fire spread.

Petrified wild boars and spotted deer were seen scurrying for cover, they said. Fire tenders reached the area in the afternoon but by then the local people and forest personnel had controlled the blaze.

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