Summer set in, department gears up to tackle forest fires

Summer set in, department gears up to tackle forest fires

2022-03-25 01:33:47


Our Correspondent

Palampur, March 24

With the early onset of the summer in the state, the Forest Department of Kangra district has geared up to check forest fires. The department has made arrangements in all forest divisions to create awareness among the public on how to check forest fires and assist its field staff.

Official sources say that control rooms are being set up, which will be equipped with a wireless system and mobile phones in different divisions. Besides, fire fighting units have also been created in all sensitive areas.

A senior Forest Department officer says that last year, a long spell of winter and also rain in March, April and May had given relief to the department. However, the situation looks different this year but the department is fully prepared to handle forest fires, he said.

Forests in the middle and lower hills of the state, comprising Kangra, Mandi, Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur district, are prone to fires between April and June, keeping Forest Department officials on tenterhooks.

Besides, disturbing the fragile flora and fauna, these blazes also cause huge damage to wildlife and standing trees. Himachal Pradesh has one of the richest and the most varied forest cover in North India. Himalayan pine variety found here is highly valued for its superior timber.

It was also revealed that because of the financial crunch for the past few years, the Forest Department has not been able to take up the required preventive measures like controlled burning of pine needles and maintenance of fire lines in forests. Therefore, it carried out controlled burning over a small forest area all over the state.

As per norms, controlled burning has to be carried out at least over one-third of the forest area vulnerable to forest fires. The total area under pine forests, where controlled burning is required, is over 1,50,000 hectares and as such, preventive measures are to be carried out on over 50,000 hectares, which needed huge funds.


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Source by [himachalpradeshtourism.org]

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