A fire broke out in the forest area adjoining the trenching ground late on Saturday night. Forest department struggled to control the fire, as it spread quickly and damaged over one hectare of forest before settling down.
During investigation, it was found that the fire was started by miscreants. The incident also brought to light negligence of forest workers posted in Devguradia.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) Kiran Bisen ordered a probe into the incident.
The fire broke late night at the rear side of Devguradia hill, adjacent to the trenching ground. Ram Chandra Bijwar, the forest guard and in-charge, was also not on the spot.
Immediately upon receiving the information, Indore ranger Jaiveer Singh sent the team to the spot for controlling the fire.
After the forest team arrived, it was found that the fire was at four different places.
Immediately forest workers began extinguishing the fire. The fire could be controlled after two and a half hours.
By then about one hectare of the forest had been destroyed. Thankfully, the plantation site was some distance away from the spot. Had the fire not been controlled on time, it would burn down crops of farmers.
Deputy ranger TR Hatila took help from nearby villagers to control the fire. There were rumours that the fire was started to hide illegal harvesting.
A large forest land around Devguradia has also been encroached by local people. The forest workers posted in the area know about these encroachments.
According to sources, in the past, conservator of forest was also aware of illegal harvesting in Devguradia range.
Singh said that the forest workers had stopped the fire from spreading. On inspecting the scene, it was found that some miscreants had deliberately set fire.
Currently, further information is being collected from the villagers.