Steps to prevent forest fires

Steps to prevent forest fires

25 February 2007

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India — The Mizoram government is gearing up to prevent forest fires frombreaking out, in view of most of the bamboo forests dying because of mautam.

Mautam is the dreaded famine that occurs inthe wake of the cyclic flowering of bamboo flowers once in every 48 years.

Lalthangliana Murray of the Indian Forest Servicerecently visited Sihfa village, which has the distinction of being the bestforest protector within the state.

Murray stressed the need to prevent fires thisyear, as the forests had already been depleted because of jhum (slash andburn) cultivation and dried up bamboo during mautam.

Forest fires have been the main cause ofdestruction of the green cover in the past years. “Even without the addedproblem of dried up bamboo, which is highly inflammable, forest fires have beena big headache for the state at this time of year when jhum cultivationbegins. So, extra precautions need to be taken,” Murray said today.

He said preventive measures were even morenecessary, as the weather this year does not bode well for the state.

“There is the haze factor which our forefathersoften warned of. If this haze comes on, legend has it that disaster follows,”Murray said.

Murray’s fears cannot be written off as meresuperstition because fog recently sent flight schedules at Lengpui airport inAizawl haywire — something the state has not experienced in the past 30 years.

Members of the fire prevention sub-committee alsovisited the rural areas of the state to create awareness among the people.

The sub-committee has warned that punitivemeasures against those responsible for forest fires will be far more severe thisyear.

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