One-fifth of country’s forests prone to fires:study

News:The Forest Survey of India(FSI) in its report State of the forest has talked about the forest fires in the country.


Key takeaways from the report:

  • 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.
  • The extremely fire prone areas account for 3.89% of total forest cover, very highly fire prone areas account for 6.01% and highly fire prone areas for 11.50%.Together,the three categories come to 21.40 % of forest cover.
  • The overall green cover has increased in the country but the forest cover in the north-east, particularly in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, has decreased.
  • The seven States of the north-eastern region accounted for about one-third of alerts in the country with Mizoram recording the highest number of fire alerts.
  • The reasons for forest fires are mostly man made particularly in cases where people visit forests and leave burning bidis, cigarette stubs or other inflammable materials.
  • However,in cases of natural reasons,the scientist pointed to the thunderstorms as the most likely cause.

Additional information:

About Forest fire:

  • The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) India defines forest fire as an unclosed and freely spreading fire that consumes the natural fuels.
  • Forest fires can be caused by both natural such as Lightning and anthropogenic factors such as negligent use of fire, shifting cultivation among others.

Initiatives taken to Control Forest fire:

National Master Plan for Forest Fire Control:The main objectives are:

  • To strengthen the organizations responsible for forest fire management
  • To coordinate international transfer of technology and training in the field of forest fire management
  • Creation of a strong database for: number of fires, area burnt, damage to flora and fauna, effect of fire on land and soil and measures taken
  • Assessment of ecological, social, and economic impact of fires
  • Strong national extension strategy for people’s awareness and their participation in forest fire management through Joint Forest Management and NGOs

Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme:In 2017, Intensification of Forest Management Scheme was revised and replaced as Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme.The main objectives of the scheme are as follows:

  • Minimise forest fire incidences and help in restoring productivity of forests in affected areas
  • Encourage partnership with forest fringe communities for forest protection
  • Prepare fire danger rating system and devise forest fire forecasting system

Pre Warning alert system:

  • Forest Survey of India(FSI) has developed Pre Warning Alert System.It gives alerts to state forest departments based on parameters like forest cover, forest types, climatic variables (temperature, rainfall) and recent fire incidents over the area.