V.S. Palaniappan

Vulnerable areas identified, dry vegetation being removed

Fire patrol parties formed in all the six rangesTight vigil to continue till MaySteps to reduce man-animal conflicts

Coimbatore: The Forest Department has begun an exercise to create fire prevention lines by removing the dry vegetation in the Coimbatore Territorial Forest Division.

The District Forest Officer, Coimbatore, Seva Singh, told The Hindu that the department has decided to identify fire prone areas and take precautionary measures such as removing dry vegetation for three meters.

Going by the records of the last 10 to 15 years, areas vulnerable to forest fire in the district were being identified.

And the vegetation in the fringe areas was being removed for three meters so that fire is prevented from spreading.

Patrolling squads

The compartmental space would control the fire within the limited area thus making it easy to put it out.

This was being done in all the six ranges in the Coimbatore division - Coimbatore, Periyanaickenpalayam, Karamadai, Mettuppalayam, Sirumugai and Pooluvampatti - covering the total forest area of 68,347.72 hectares.

Fire-patrol parties comprising forester, guard, watchers and firewatchers have been formed in all the six ranges. They are equipped with walkie-talkies to communicate with the base station, if they required more manpower and logistics, Mr. Seva Singh said.

The teams were working under the supervision of the respective rangers.

Services of the regular range office staff and that of anti-poaching teams are also being used to prevent accidental fires and in certain cases, intentional fires caused by poachers.

Vigil would be maintained from the first week of February till the end of the summer season in May.

With the summer fast approaching, the Forest Department has made efforts to combating man-animal conflicts which were likely in Anaikatti, Karamadai, Madukkarai, Thondamuthur, Siruvani, Marudhamalai, Sirumugai and other belts where elephants and other wild animals normally stray into human habitations in search of food and water.

Personnel were being kept ready to chase the animals back to their migratory routes.

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