India — In a bid to prevent recurrence of forest fire which spread around 450 hectares of forest in Wayanad recently, the Forest Department plans to resort to controlled burning in forests from next summer.
This is for the first time that the state is planning to introduce controlled burning, an intentionally-ignited fire within a designated area with the aim of removing highly-flammable undergrowth (and thus reduce the risk of forest fire).
In the initial investigation by Additional Chief Conservator Of Forests (Vigilance) C S Yalakki it was found that the fire which engulfed a huge area of forest was man-made, though may not be deliberate.
Sources in the Forest Department said that uncontrolled growth of bamboo accelerates the spread of forest fires.
Bamboo after flowering will get dry. Someone would accidentally burn them when they have grown after a period of five or six years. However, the spread and quantity of bamboo becomes so large in some areas that a small spark would burn an entire area.
There is a large quantity of dried bamboo inside and outside Wayanad wildlife sanctuary from 2006. There is provision to remove them outside the wildlife sanctuary while concurrence is needed from the State Wildlife Board and National Wildlife Board to remove even a blade of grass inside the sanctuary, sources said.
The Forest Department had once sought the permission from the State and National Biodiversity Boards to remove the excess grass from the sanctuary but NBB rejected it though the state had given clearance.
The option of controlled burning was put forward by field officers when Minister of Forests Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan visited the forest fire spot.