Sri Lanka–– Increasing forest fires are likely to have a negative impact on the catchments areas where reservoirs are located and also on the supply of drinking water, the Disaster Management Center. (DMC) warns.
Deputy Director of the Disaster Management Center (DMC) Sarath Lal Kumara, said forest fires could reduce the forest cover which may cause soil erosion and landslides. Soon it would be a threat in many ways. He said that over 100 forest fires had been reported to the DMC during the past five months and they destroyed over 12,000 acres of reservation lands and grass lands.
He further said that an increase in the number of forest fires was noticed in this drought season but there have been similar situations in the past. A drought season is expected every 10 -13 years. Even though there have been similar situations reported in 1990 and 2002 during the drought, those werent highlighted due to the more attention being given to the war or inactiveness of the Forest Department Sarath Lal Kumara alleged.
He also said wildfires were unlikely in Sri Lanka and they were mainly caused by the human activities. If a suspect was proved guilty he could be sentenced to 15 years prison term for destroying state property, he explained. He further said that a committee has appointed with the members of Ministry of Environment, DMC and the Ministry of defense. The committee is probing the root causes of forest fires. We will act accordingly once the committee makes recommendations, he added.