INDIA – Baripada: The task force formed by the state government to review incidents of forest fire on a daily basis and improve the SOPs to prevent as well as restrain such wildfires is currently taking stock of the situation in Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary of Mayurbhanj district.
The task force headed by former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Sandeep Tripathi along with two members, Jaykrushna Panigrahi and Dr Bijay Agrawal, said that wildfires can be controlled with help of technology, public awareness and government incentives to people.
The team held discussion with field director of Similipal Tiger Project M Yagojayanand and Baripada DFO Santosh Joshi regarding chronology of fires, firefighting exercises, their causes, prevention, existing fire-fighting protocols and geometric-based fire warnings.
They are likely to brainstorm on fire management, prevention, effective plan to encourage community participation and assessment of damage to wildlife and biodiversity in the affected area.
“Fires have been controlled. In the coming days, fires can be prevented and contained with help of technology, public awareness and financial support to communities,” said Jaykrushna Panigrahi.
The task force is looking into issues related to extent of damage caused by wildfires, their impact on wildlife and forest and livelihood of tribal communities.
The task force said that it has proposed that the government provides fiscal support to tribals inhabiting the fire-prone areas.
More forest protection committees, Vana Surakhaya Samitis, voluntary organisations, people’s representatives, members of SHGs and NGOs will be roped in to protect the forests and prevent as well as control forest fires.
It is expected that the task force, in his report, will suggest measures for augmentation of existing fire management protocols, including a Geomatics-based fire alert system, and recommend suggestions for improved community participation in fire management and prevention.
It is conducting a post-assessment of forest fire-affected areas, loss to wildlife, biodiversity and will suggest appropriate measures for augmentation.