Fire destroys vast tract of Nagaland’s highest peak Mt. Saramati
KOHIMA — A large tract of Mt. Saramati, the highest peak in Nagaland, located near Thanamir village in Kiphire district along the India-Myanmar border, was reduced to ashes in a fire that reportedly broke out on January 23.
The fire was suspected to have been set off by trekkers visiting the peak. However, no casualty has been reported so far, it was informed.
When contacted, president of Thanamir Village Students’ Union (TVSU), Limtsumong Y told Eastern Mirror that a team comprising Thanamir Village Council, Village Guards and villagers went for a “spot verification” after receiving reports about the fire incident.
“From Thanamir village, the peak is not visible as a hill blocks the view. That is why villagers were unaware of the fire outbreak until someone from Pungro town alerted them,” said the student leader.
So far, trekkers responsible for the fire outbreak have not been identified but the village council is investigating, he informed.
When asked if the villagers had informed the district administration and authorities regarding the incident, he said they might have received information from the public on January 24.
A joint verification team was able to douse the embers but there are still signs of fire in places where people cannot go, he added.
Limtsumong also informed that the TVSU has a standing resolution for preserving the mountain, including a ban on setting fire to the forest, campfires in open areas and destruction of forest biodiversity, among others.
In a video clip captured by the verification team, one of the members was seen explaining why they were on the mountain. He was heard saying that the Thanamir Village Council and Village Guards had gone for a “spot verification” to Mt. Saramati on January 26, after receiving reports that some trekkers had set on fire to the bushes on the mountain.
Upon reaching the peak, they found out that the fire had devastated both sides of the India- Myanmar border.
In the video clip, the member was seen making a fervent appeal to the trekkers not to set on fire, saying that “Mt. Saramati is the property of all the Nagas”.