Bageshwar forest fire growing fiercely, Forest Department fails to contain

Forest officials are struggling to control a fire that broke out in Uttarakhand's Bageshwar district on Monday, June 18. So far the fire has razed nine hectares of land.

The fire was caused by angry villagers in Harinagari area, who set the forest on fire after a leopard killed a seven-year-old boy. The boy's half-eaten body was found in the nearby forest area on Tuesday morning.

RK Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO) Bageshwar said Deepak, son of Diwan Ram, had stepped out of his house on Monday evening when the leopard attacked and dragged him towards the forest. He said the boy's mother was cooking at that time when she heard Deepak's cries. "The angry villagers later set the forest on fire and we couldn't go into the affected area. A crowd of over a thousand people gathered in the village. They demanded immediate compensation for the family of the victim and shooting of the leopard by the forest officials," he said.

Singh said Deepak's family would be provided with a compensation of ₹3 lakh. He has also asked Principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) DVS Khati's permission for the leopard to be declared a man-eater. A team of shooters from Almora will soon reach Bagheshwar to kill the leopard, he added.