A forest fire in the Kadumane area has been raging for the past four to five days, particularly in the Sakhleshpura region of Hassan Division, Karnataka.
A dousing of the forest fire
On 16th February, at around 12.30 pm, Sundaresh and three other forest guards were injured while putting out a forest fire in the Sakhleshpura range. Sundaresh was taken to St. John’s hospital in Bangalore after suffering serious injuries and was later admitted. He passed away from his injuries on 17th February at around 4.45 in the morning, according to the Karnataka Forest Department.
Karnataka Forest Department announced on 18th February,
‘It is with deep sadness that we inform you about the passing of one of our brave green army members, Sri Sundaresh. He was unfortunately engulfed in a forest fire in the forest of Kadumane forests in the Sakhleshpura Range of Hassan Division. Karnataka Forest Department offers a heartfelt tribute to Sri Sundaresh who gave his life to protect the country’s forest wealth. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.’
The team of four had to walk over 7 km in the dense forest to reach the location of the fire and due to the wind blowing upward, the fire spread in all directions and enveloped the team. The team was able to somehow send an SOS message at around 1 pm. And, then the backup team arrived at the location at around 3.30 pm. But, by then Sundaresh, forest guard, and Manjunath, Deputy Range Forest Officer (DRFO) had sustained severe injuries and burns.
S J Sundaresh was 37 years old and was a native of Tirthahalli taluk in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka. He has been working in the Forest Department for the last 15 years. He is survived by his wife and four-year-old daughter.
According to sources, earlier Sundaresh participated in many crucial wild elephant operations in the Sakhleshpura forest. Forest personnel in Hassan and an associate of his told the Deccan Chronicle that he led from the front during rogue elephant capture operations in the region and was committed to his work.
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