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This is a move we welcome, even though it may limit the list of trekking destinations in south India. We hear that the Forest Department has banned trekking in nine ranges under Salem limits. This was done to prevent forest fires this summer. The department has begun establishing fire line in the ranges to control spread of forest fire, if it occurs.
Remeber the Kurangini fire accident in March 2018? A group of trekkers were returning after a trip to the Kurangani hills in Theni district when they got stuck in the middle of a forest fire. It killed 23. The subsequent investigation reports that were submitted had recommended that the state needs to properly identify trekking routes, and have trained guides in place. It had also said eco tourism needs to be regulated in the state.
The nine ranges are Yercaud, Shervarayan North, Shervarayan South, Danishpet, Mettur, Kalvarayan, Valappadi, Attur and Thammampatti. Across the ranges, 102 km of fire line will be set up in vulnerable areas. If you are caught in these, you will be penalised. The department has also asked everyone not to carry inflammable items into forest areas. To implement these steps, the department is involving local and tribal youth.
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