Forest Fires in North India: Natural or a Man-Made Disaster?

From monoculture plantation to alienation of forest-dwellers, these fires are a man-made phenomenon with faltered interventions at many layers.

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Forest Fires in North India: Natural or a Man-Made Disaster? THE POLICY TIMES

Uttarakhand reached out to the center after 75 forest fires; 50 in the forest reserves and 25 in civil panchayat areas broke recently spreading across 105.85 hectares. The reports a record of 1,000 such incidents in the past. CM Tirath Singh Rawat held an emergency meeting with state government officials. Under the CM’s orders, forest officials and district authorities will not be issuing any leaves until the situation is under control.

An issue from the CMO

Around 12,000 Forest Personnel have been deployed for fighting the fire. Around 1,028 incidents of forest fire affected over 1,359 hectares since October 1, 2020, after the rains mainly in the districts of Nainital, Almora, Tehri Garhwal, and Pauri Garhwal. Approximately, 5people and 7 animal deaths have been reported so far.

Also Read: 20 Fires in Four Days; Uttarakhand Witnessed Massive Forest Fire

The Unwelcomed Event

Rajiv Bharati Head of the Forest Force, Uttarakhand said that the peak time for forest fires is the third week of May. It is speculated that these fires could be man-made or might have aroused due to dryness in the atmosphere, high temperatures, and wind velocity. According to DGP Ashok Kumar, most of the incidents are triggered by unwanted elements or human errors. His survey reports present around 278 incidents in March alone.

TPT Policy Advocacy and Recommendations

  • Despite laying several policies and acts the government still fails to prevent loss due to huge forest fires. An appropriate plan for tackling the situation must be created. To ensure immediate action a proper institution should be set in the forest department with the sole responsibility of fire management. Special arrangements should be made in highly prone forests. Preliminary survey and sample collection of the area burnt, damage to forest crops, environment, and wildlife along with an indirect loss to soil and water resources is the need of the hour.
  • Despite the implementation of an advanced version of Forest Fire Alert Systems the government failed to detect this massive fire. There is an urgent need to re-vitalize the systems embracing modern technologies and training the staff efficiently.
Summary
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Forest Fires in North India: Natural or a Man-Made Disaster?
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From monoculture plantation to alienation of forest-dwellers, these fires are a man-made phenomenon with faltered interventions at many layers.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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