´Sri Lanka–– With forest fires having devoured vast hectares of forest land in the country in recent months due to the the prevailing drought, the disaster management authorities have called on Sri Lanka Air Force to aid them to combat forest fires.
Disaster Management Center Deputy Director Lal Kumara yesterday told the Daily News that they called for the assistance of Sri Lanka Air Force, requesting their urgent aerial assistance to put out forest fires.
The Centre submitted its request to the Air Force yesterday.
Lal Kumara said, Air Force helicopters would be used to combat forest fires in the future. Meanwhile, the help of Sri Lanka Army has already been received by the Disaster Management Center to carry out forest fire fighting operations, he said. .
There are two fires that have raged in the forests of Mahavilachchiya area in the Anuradhapura district and Yahangala area in the Knuckles Range at his story going to the press.
Lal Kumara said that these fires have become uncontrollable and the flames have destroyed nearly one hundred acres of forest lands and plantations.
This is why we need aerial assistance from the air force to drop water from air to douse them, he explained. About 50 Army personnel have been deployed to put out the fires in these areas, but this does not seem enough to control the flames, he added.
According to Forest Department sources Sri Lanka has lost more than 10 000 acres of forest cover during the year due to being hit by wildfires. The fires have mainly reported from six districts of Nuwara Eliya, Badulla , Monaragala, Kandy , Matale and Polonnaruwa, sources said.
The fires have erupted in 100 locations, they said.
There is nothing much that divisional forest officers could do to bring them under control except calling for public support, Forest Department sources said.