News:Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has provided information about forest fires management and prevention in Rajya Sabha.
- The area covering 93,273 hectares has been affected by forest fires in 2019.This also includes ground fires which means burning of ground vegetation.
- According to the Forest Survey of India, about 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable.
- Mizoram recorded the highest number of forest fire alerts between November 2018 and June 2019.
Initiatives for prevention of Forest fires:
About National Action Plan on Forest Fires:
- National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAPFF) was launched in 2018 to minimise forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivising them to work with the State Forest Departments.
- The plan also intends to substantially reduce the vulnerability of forests across diverse forest ecosystems in the country against fire hazards, enhance capabilities of forest personnel and institutions in fighting fires and swift recovery subsequent to fire incidents.
About Forest Fire Prevention and Management scheme:
- The Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme(FPM) is the centrally Sponsored scheme which replaced the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme(IFMS) in 2017.
- The scheme aims to a) Minimise forest fire incidences and help in restoring productivity of forests in affected areas b) Encourage partnership with forest fringe communities for forest protection and c) Prepare fire danger rating system and devise forest fire forecasting system.
Draft National Forest Policy,2018:
- The policy aims at bringing a minimum of one-third of India’s total geographical area under forest or tree cover.
- It calls for safeguarding ecosystems from forest fires, mapping the vulnerable areas and developing and strengthening early warning systems and methods to control fire based on remote sensing technology and community participation.