Andhra Pradesh

Forest fires on the rise in State

Forest fires are on the rise in the State. More than 15,200 instances have been reported in the last five months.

During the corresponding period the previous year, 9,800 forest fires had occurred, affecting 6,200 hectares.

In March alone this year, 11,895 forest fires had been reported, destroying 6,347 hectares. Most of these had occurred in the Nallamala forest falling under Kadapa and Kurnool districts.

‘Good rains also a trigger’

While more reasons than one are cited for the spurt in forest fires, the one that surprises is good rains!

According to information, good rains lead to growth of wild grass and bushes, which provide a perfect condition for eruption of fire later.

“Of the total number of forest fires in the last five months, more than 3,000 have been reported in the forest areas of Kadapa and Kurnool districts. In the Visakha Agency area, about 2,000 hectares of forest cover has been destroyed. The Forest Department has acted swiftly in dousing the fires,” says Prateep Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF).

Tech edge

“Forest personnel are pressed into service based on satellite information that pinpoints the exact origin of the fire. An officer of the rank of DFO monitors the operation. We could could control the spread and save wildlife,” says Mr. Prateep Kumar.

The satellite-based monitoring of forest fires is one of the disaster support activity from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).

Satellite data is processed at the NRSC in near real-time and information is made available to the users (FSI and State forest departments) within 30 minutes, he says.

“Since 2019, data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite is also being disseminated. The MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) covers 1 km X 1 km while SNPP covers 375 m X 375 m. So, we will get more number of alerts,” explains K. Gopinatha, Additional PCCF (Vigilance).

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:59:38 AM |

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