Knuckles bush fire probed


by Norman Palihawadane

The police and the Forest Department are conducting separate investigations into Friday’s bush fire which destroyed vast tracts of lush forest in the Knuckles range in Hunnasgiriya. The fire was doused on Saturday by the police and villagers. The Air Force assistance could not be obtained due to a thick mist which the mountains were enveloped in. A patch of jungle had to be cleared across the path of the fire to prevent the raging flames spreading further.

The police said they believed the extent of forest destroyed encompassed about 150 acres. But for a concerted effort by villagers and the police, the damage could have been far worse, a police officer told The Island yesterday.

The area was uninhabited and therefore there was no loss of property or lives, he said.

Investigators believe the fire could have been spontaneous but they do not rule out the possibility of someone having triggered it either accidentally or intentionally.

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