Jharkhand, India — Jharkhand forest department is unfurling an umbrella of measures to avoid devastating forest fires this summer.
We have chalked out plans to ensure that the damage to the forest cover in Jharkhand is minimum this season, said A.T. Mishra, the divisional forest officer of Dhalbhum.
Forest fires are a problem demanding attention in the peak of summer, generally May and June, with occasional instances of fires starting in March.
It causes huge damage to Jharkhand forestlands as it has a large number of deciduous trees, which are vulnerable to fires.
The Mohua tree is another species prone to forest fires. They are found in abundance at the protected and the reserve forests in East Singhbhum.
As part of the preventive measures, the forest department has started clearing fire lines. This involves making a lengthy clearing so that the fire finds no combustible material to spread. The department has also initiated roadside cleaning.
It involves a lot of controlled budding on both the sides of roads leading to the forests, Mishra explained.
Another method employed to prevent or curtail forest fires is by hiring fire watchers, who would be posted at the sensitive protected and reserve forests to raise the alarm.
Some fire watchers have been identified. But the forest department is preparing a list of people who would be given the responsibility to check the growing problem.
The forest department has also identified about 10 local committees and given them Rs 20,000 to implement fire-check measures.
The committee members can use the money to develop their villages but the onus of protecting the forests and keeping fires away would be on them, Mishra added.