Series of forest fires in Gondia perturb officials

Series of forest fires in Gondia perturb officials

02 April 2011

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India — There is a scare due to series of fires in the forests of Gondia district. It is believed that they are the handiwork of poachers, so that the wild animals would come out of the forests and that they could kill them. But forest officers do not think so. They believe that it is done by mahua collectors to facilitate mahua collection.

Sources said, “Forest fires are nothing new but this year the number is quite high. But what has surprised many is that the forest fires are generally reported during peak summer, but this time many incidents are being seen before the real summer has set in.”

The sources said, “So far there is no casualty of any wild life but these fires have spoiled the beauty of the forests.”

Sub-divisional officer of forest, Gondia, Mukesh Ganatra, said, “For the forest department alone it is almost impossible to control these fires. These fires are necessary, provided they are done in a technical manner. We are prepared to cooperate, guide and give permission to those villagers who want to clear the grass under mahua trees so that the mahua flowers could be collected easily. But the villagers should not to put on these fires haphazardly.”

Ganatra said, “There are some areas where undesired grass grows and which is hazardous for other trees and wild animals. These grass need to be destroyed. The forest department will guide the cultivators, as to how this grass could be destroyed.”

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