Jamshedpur, India — Come summer, the state forest department will be ready to prevent fires that are frequent in the forests of Dhalbhum.
Senior officials of the department said that they would draw a 250km fire line in the forests of the region that would help minimise damages to the green cover in case of a fire. Help of villagers will also be sought in areas that are most susceptible to fire.
Fires are common in the forests of Dhalbhum, especially the Dalma range, in spring and summer, starting from February. So, the department has already started gearing up for the challenging task of preventing the blaze.
In other forests, the fires spread through trees located close to each other. But in our region the reasons behind forest fires are different, said an official of the department.
Explaining how the blaze spreads in Dhalbhum forests, he said: The entire area in this region gets covered with dry leaves during summer. In most cases, a cigarette or a bidi butt thrown carelessly by a passer-by sparks a blaze. Besides, villagers also set fire to parts of the forest to collect mahua fruits.
This is a easy method of collecting mahua. The villagers usually ignite a controlled fire in areas where mahua is grown. However, on most occasions, the fire spreads rapidly due to the presence of dry leaves on the ground, added the forest official.
Hence, the fire line will be created by removing dry leaves from certain areas. The forest officials usually clear away the dry leaves by burning them in a controlled fire .
Divisional forest officer, Dhalbhum, A.T. Mishra said fire lines would arrest fires that spread on the ground.
Moreover, villagers would be deputed at all sensitive points to ensure that a fire started for mahua collection does not spread to other parts of the forest.
The department would pay a sum of money to the villagers for maintaining a vigil.
This apart, the department has also started an awareness campaign for the local residents, offering them tips on how to keep forest fires at bay.