New Delhi: India recorded 3,45,989 forest-fire alerts between November 2020 and June 2021, highest in the last three years and almost triple the number of alerts generated during the same period the previous year, the Centre told Parliament on Friday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Choubey said 3,45,989 forest-fire alerts were sent by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) using SNPP-VIIRS sensors (including large, continuous and repeated forest fires) between November 2020 and June 2021.
According to the details shared by the minister, the number of forest-fire alerts between November 2019 and June 2020 was 1,24,473 and between November 2018 and June 2019, the country recorded 2,10,286 such alerts.
“The number of incidents of forest fire in the country varies from year to year depending on various natural and anthropogenic reasons. Forest fires do occur every year during summer due to various natural and anthropogenic reasons, including accumulation of inflammable materials such as dry leaves, twigs, pine needles etc.
“These factors have also been highlighted in a joint study by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the World Bank. Most of the forest fires in the country are ground fires in which ground vegetation etc. get burnt. The Forest Survey of India (FSI) sends forest-fire alerts to all registered users on the alert system,” Choubey told the Lower House of Parliament.
According to the figures, Odisha recorded the highest number of forest-fire alerts at 51,968, followed by Madhya Pradesh (47,795) and Chhattisgarh (38,106) between November 2020 and June 2021.
There was a steep rise from last year in the number of forest-fire alerts generated in these three states. While Odisha recorded 10,602 alerts between November 2019 and June 2020, Madhya Pradesh recorded 9,537 in the same period and Chhattisgarh 6,360.
The data showed that Delhi recorded only 14 forest-fire alerts this year, down from last year’s 21.
The minister also said the responsibility of forest-fire prevention and management lies primarily with the respective state and the ministry supports the efforts of the states and Union territories in preventing and controlling forest fire by providing financial assistance for various measures.
The measures include use of modern tools for extinguishing fire, use of communication and information technology, creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of the forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation work in high-risk areas, awareness creation, incentivising villages and communities for protection against forest fire under the centrally-sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management scheme.
“In addition, the FSI has taken steps to improve the forest-fire alert system like the FSI has pursued with states/UTs to increase the number of registered users of its alert system. Now, the number of such registered users has increased to around 1.30 lakh.
“FSI also generates and disseminates ‘Weekly Early-Warning Alerts’ of forest fire to concerned states/UTs and also initiated an innovative ‘Large Forest Fire Monitoring’ programme in January 2019, which aims at improving tactical as well as strategic response to large forest fires by the respective states/UTs,” the minister said in his reply. (PTI)
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