Village folk roped in to stem forest fires

Village folk roped in to stem forest fires

18 February 2015

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India — With intense heat building up as summer nears, and Bandipur turning dry, authorities are galvanising volunteers from the local community to fight any outbreak of fire in the days ahead.

Wildlife Conservation Foundation (WCF) has taken up the task of creating awareness on forest fires in villages surrounding Bandipur through street plays, rallies and distribution of pamphlets. Three such plays have already been staged at Hangala, Kundgere and Mangala.

“Though prevention is ideal, forest fires are a reality in Bandipur as also other national parks in summer. Containing the fire is top priority. This can be done if there is immediate sighting and action to douse the fire, which requires an early warning system,” said D. Rajkumar of WCF.

He told The Hindu that sensitising and roping in the local community living on the fringes of forests is one of the best methods to evolve an early warning system. This is why the WCF has taken up the task of spreading awareness among the communities.

About 35 villages and 44 eco-development committees, and 64 educational institutions have been covered under the awareness drive so far. Students have also been apprised of their role in case they sight a fire.

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