Telangana

Drastic fall in forest fires all over the State

Dried up leaves being torched in a fireline in Birsaipet range of Kawal Tiger Reserve.

Dried up leaves being torched in a fireline in Birsaipet range of Kawal Tiger Reserve.  

Across the State, 314 incidents were reported against 1,670 last year, a decrease of over 80%

Forests in Telangana have recorded a drastic fall in forest fire incidences in the first two months of this year thanks to better planning and management. While this is so, the Forest Department does not want to claim that rampant forest fires are a thing of the past.

The reduction in the number, compared to incidences for the corresponding period last year, is a good augury. Especially for the former composite Adilabad district which encompasses some pristine forests in the Adlabad Territorial Circle and more importantly the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR), both boasting of a good, wild animal population.

Against a cumulative 510 fires which were reported from both the Circles in the first two months of 2019, only 31 have been reported this year, almost a 90 per cent decrease. In the State, 314 forest fires were reported against the 1,670 of last year, a fall of over 80 per cent.

The highest number of fires, 48, have been reported from Nagarkurnool district.

Well-planned fire lines

“We have intensive fire line planning, and will continue the operations till the end of this month,” revealed KTR Field Director C.P. Vinod Kumar, who is also the Conservator of Forest for the Adilabad Territorial Circle.

The fire lines are nothing but torching of dried up leaves which are piled up in a neat long heaps along roads passing through the forests to curtail spread of fires which get ignited due to negligence of road users or others.

“We now have six quick response teams (QRTs) stationed at strategic locations so that they can rush to the spot from where a fire alert has been reported.

The team consists of five fire watchers who move in a vehicle,” the top official said as he talked of the measures taken to control the devastating fires.

“These teams are equipped with modern fire fighting equipment including fire resistant suits. The QRT members can actually enter the fire to douse it,” added Adilabad Forest Divisional Officer V. Chandra Shekhara Rao. Officials are aware that the current month could be crucial in their efforts as beedi leaf units will be auctioned off in a few days.

The largest incidence of forest fires occurs in areas where the units are located.

Burning beedi leaf plants

In 2018 and 2019, beedi leaf units were auctioned off in December or January itself and leaf collection activity had started much earlier. Burning of the forest floor will burn the tendu or tuniki plants which will bear healthy leaves, ready for collection in May.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:15:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/drastic-fall-in-forest-fires-all-over-the-state/article30966370.ece

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