The Wildlife Department said yesterday that an area of more than 300 acres in the Thabbowa Sanctuary has been destroyed by a sudden fire.

Wildlife officers, army personnel attached to the Thabbowa Army camp, and the police doused the fire.

The guard at the site said that this was not a bonfire but arson, and investigations have been started to find the person behind the destruction. A report has been filed about the incident.

Wildlife officials suspect that some individuals or groups are behind the fire. The purpose of this may be to hunt wild animals after burning down the forest, say the officials.

The Karuvalagasweva police said that after 10 hours of working together with the relevant teams, the fire that was spreading throughout the sanctuary was completely controlled.