Special patrol teams to check forest fires


 
Special patrol teams to check forest fires
 

07 March 2013

published by www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com


India — MUMBAI: After a fire broke out near Film City on Monday, the forest department has asked special patrolling teams to keep vigil on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park to prevent a repeat.

On Monday evening, a fire that started outside Film City spread almost six hectares into the forest. It took 18-20 hours for fire officials to douse the blaze as it kept spreading on the dry foliage. Even as most of it was doused, embers kept erupting into a blaze.

After Monday’s blaze, small fires were reported in Tungareshwar forest and Yeoor range. While these too were doused, officials and activists feel fire-fighting in forests can be improved to mitigate the impact.

Fire officials said the teams will keep a check on the forests till June. “These months are vulnerable to fire. Ten teams of four personnel each will patrol the area,” said Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forest, SGNP. “We are trying to nab the culprits who caused Monday’s fire,” he said. tnn

“Usually, the fire is detected by evening and once its dark, extinguishing fire gets tough. Also, SGNP forest has a lot of slopes, making it tough to navigate through it,” said Krishan Tiwari of City Forest Initiative.

“Forest officials are still using the old but proven technique to dousing the fire with branches. But this is a cumbersome task when the fire is spread over a large area,” he added.

Special patrolling teams will keep a check on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), in order to prevent a repeat of the massive fire near Film City on Monday evening. The forest department is on its toes as the excess dry foliage and high temperature combine to make summer a period of “fire months”. After Monday, small fires were reported in Tungareshwar forest and even Yeoor range by people to the control room. While these were doused, officials as well as activists feel that the fire fighting in the forest can be improved to mitigate the impact.

Fire officials said that special patrolling teams will be checking the forest area for fire till June. “These months are vulnerable to fire. Ten teams of four men each will patrol the area,” said Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forest, SGNP. “We are also trying to nab the culprits who caused the fire on Monday,” he added.

On Monday evening, a fire started outside Film City and spread toward the forest covering almost six hectares. Fire officials took around 18-20 hours to douse the entire fire as it kept spreading on the dry foliage. Even after the major fire was doused, small embers kept erupting into a blaze. Experts said that the forest officials are also at a disadvantage while dousing the fire.

“Usually, the fire is detected by evening and once its dark, it is very tough to continue extinguishing the fire. Also, Sanjay Gandhi National park (SGNP) forest has lot of slopes due to which it is tough to navigate through it,” said Krishan Tiwari of City Forest Initiative. “Forest officials are still using the old but proven technique to dousing the fire with branches. But this is a cumbersome task when the fire is spread over a large area,” he added.

Activists said that in 1997, a HC order had recommended the use of helicopter to douse forest fires, but no effort has been towards it.

 


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