"So far, 27 people have been rescued and operations are in full swing to rescue two others". As many as nine persons who suffered serious burns have been shifted to Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai.
Those caught in the forest fire are people who went on a trek organised by the Chennai Trekking Club as part of the Women's Day celebrations. A probe has been ordered into the cause of the forest fire, Palaniswami said. Sixteen others are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Madurai and neighbouring places for varying degrees of burn injuries, while 10 from the group have returned home after being administered first aid.
He said the forest fire was reported in the Kurangani Hills for the past 15 days but the Forest Department had not issued any prior warning notice.
Death toll in Sunday's forest fire in Karunkani hills, Tamil Nadu has gone up to nine.
Police have arrested Rajesh, a local guide, for taking the trekkers without getting permission from the forest department.
Meanwhile, Chennai police on Monday found that the office of the "volunteer" organisation believed to have arranged the ill-fated trekking expedition was closed. "I also got burned, but luckily we were able to escape".
Trekking expedition to any forest area or wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu requires prior approval from Forest and Wildlife authorities and the procedure to get nod is simple, an official said here today.
Of the survivors, 18 are injured, eight of them critically.
A group of Garud commandoes conducting the search operation in Theni forest where a fire killed 9 trekkers. "They had entered the forests from Munnar side of Kerala and were trekking down to Theni through the forests".
He also said that people have to be careful and must take precautions as the woods are all dry during summers.