Submitted by Rashmi on Fri, 2017-03-03 13:38 Bengaluru: It is the dry lantana and wind that escalated the damage to Bandipur Tiger Reserve during the fire accident, observed National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) official who visited Bandipur post-fire episode. Speaking to Bfirst.in, Director General Somashekar said that for the last three years there has been drought-like situation here due to lack of rainfall. In fact, the year 2016 has been the worst, he added. “The vegetation is totally dry. Besides, dry lantana in the park acts like a fuel to the fire. This has worsened the situation," he said. When asked about the extent of damage, the NTCA official said that it would be not right to speak about it unless the assessment is complete. However, contradictory to the Bandipur Conservator of Forests’ statement that only 100-200 hectare of forest was damaged, he said the fire has damaged more vegetation. However, he expressed his satisfaction over the department's effort to control fire and added that efforts are on to prevent any possible incidents in future.