Wildfires damage large portion of Shirui peak

Correspondent IMPHAL, JAN 18 | Publish Date: 1/18/2020 10:42:06 AM IST

Wildfires in Shirui peak in Manipur’s Ukhrul district destroyed almost half of the habitation of the endangered Shirui Lily, the state flower of Manipur.

Reports said that fire had destroyed a major portion of the forest area of Shirui Kashong, popularly known as Shirui peak.

The extent of the damage by the wildfire, which was yet to completely doused, could not be ascertained by authority for the time being. However, some reports said that the fire was broken out Friday at around 1 pm. Residents of Ukhrul town, however, said that they saw the fire engulfing the peak last night, around 8 pm. However, it was controlled by a concerted effort of the fire fighters of Ukhrul fire station, staff of the district administration, forest department and villagers by late Friday night, around 10 pm.

The peak is the only home to world-famed Shirui Lily and state flower of Manipur that blooms only on the lofty heights of Shirui peak. It has become an endangered species as the lily was almost on the verge of extinction so much so that the number of flowers growing in the core zone, which is protected by the authority of the state forest department.

However, concerted efforts of the authority of the state forest department and villagers have been able to regenerate the habitant of the lily first discovered when Frank Kingdon-Ward came to Manipur with his wife (the daughter of a Bombay high court judge) for botanical research, in 1946. 

Knowing wildfire was the main cause of extinction of the lily, villagers have been preventing breaking out of fire in the hill range with a concrete resolution to protect and preserved the lily. The villagers formed Shirui Kashong Area Forest Land Owner Conservancy (SKAFLOC) in 2017 with a strong resolution to protect and preserve the peak for the lily to grow and regenerate. There was no incident of fire breakout in the peak since then as the villagers strictly adhere to the resolution not to take up any kind of activities that could cause fire in the peak.


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