INDIA – Ahmedabad: There has been a marked decrease in instances of forest fires in the state over the past three years. According to official records,the number of forest fires has reduced from 1,276 in 2017-18 to 753 in 2019-20.
Government sources say that the discernible reduction in instances of forest fires is a result of adopting a scientific approach in both dousing and prevention of forest fires in the state.
The state forest department has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to contain instances of forest fires. To begin with, the department has divided huge chunks of grasslands in forests into smaller parts with a gap of no grass in between. Machines are used to cut down grass in such a way that in the case of a fire, only a patch of grass gets burnt down and the fire does not spread to other areas of the forest.
Another method that is being used by the forest department setting off controlled fires within forest areas to burn down unwanted plants like weeds and other unproductive shrubs. A section of the forest is isolated and set on fire in a controlled manner to remove unwanted plants form the forest.
The government informed in the assembly that all forest staff have been registered with the Forest Survey of India Fire Alert System. Staff get alerts of fires on their mobile phones. Apart from these measures, forest staff have been asked to regularly patrol areas which are vulnerable to fires, the government informed.