India — To conserve forests from natural calamities like forest fires and flooding, the department of forest and environment would adopt conservation techniques that would be implemented by forest officials and the people living around forest areas. Officials in the department said that under the forest policy framed by the government it will now become mandatory to dig fire lines at regular intervals in forest areas. Fire lines are man made gaps in the vegetation cover or combustible material within the forests that can fuel a forest fire. Officials said that occurrence of forest fires in summers has become common in Rajasthan. Past experience shows that ground fire often occurs by burning grasses and dry shrubs in the forest area. In order to curb forest fires, fire lines need to be created and maintained at forest areas at regular intervals, an official spoke about the new rules under the forest policy. The government will provide subordinate staff with modern gadgets for controlling and extinguishing forest fires. It has also been suggested that members of the Joint Forest Management Committee and local people will be duty bound to help in extinguishing fires. During monsoons, heavy drainage of water also impacts forest cover adversely. Therefore the forest department has decided to take up intensive drainage line treatment for conservation of soil and water in the forest area. Under the system excess runoff of water is channelled away and can be harvested to recharge the groundwater. The policy suggests that proper water harvesting structures can be set up to retain moisture in the root zone of planted saplings for ensuring better survival of plants. The forest department is also planning to introduce new rules to prevent illegal grazing in forest areas post-monsoon. Illegal grazing in forest areas causes tremendous soil loss, officials said adding, that it makes forest unsuitable for natural regeneration.