Kurangani forest fire leaves 10 dead; 8 are seriously injured


36 persons, 27 of them from Chennai, had been to the Kurangani forest near Theni on an expedition on Saturday and were trapped in the most unexpected manner when the forest suddenly caught fire on Sunday afternoon. Two people succumbed to injuries at the Government Rajaji Government Hospital in Madurai. Many of those injured sustained 70 per cent and above burn injuries.

Baldev said: "I have got calls from people that some are in unconscious state due to fire".

The Kurangani hills in Theni district, which border a forest reserve and a national park, are a popular destination for hikers and global adventure tourists.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilar Purohit on Tuesday condoled the death of ten trekkers in a forest fire at Theni District.

DMK Working President M.K.Stalin, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, PMK Founder Dr.S.Ramadoss, former AIADMK leader T.T.V.Dhinakaran among leaders of various political parties condoled the death of trekkers in the forest fire. A report said that a trekker from Chennai, Vijayalakshmi, who escaped with minor burns was instrumental in sending SOS to the local people.

She said 24 trekkers from Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur had gone to the Kurangani Hills. Had she not acted swiftly and informed the people about the fire incident, none of them would have survived. Vijayalakshmi told the media that the trekkers panicked upon facing with the fire and scattered. "We are closely monitoring the situation", the official said. Locals said the fire broke out at noon on Sunday. They are investigating how the trekking group came in touch with him.

Following the forest fire in Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka forest department has issued an order "temporarily" banning trekking in the state forests until rain showers.

Sitharaman remained in touch with the District Collector and directed the Indian Airforce to co-ordinate in the rescue operations. Besides, the permission was given only if the trekkers had proper guides from the area, they added.

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