Summer forest fires in Karnataka reduced due to virus lockdown: Environmentalists

23 INDIA 2020

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INDIA – Mangaluru: While lockdown has adversely hit various sectors, environmentalists opine that following the virus lockdown, the forest fire has notably decreased during this summer.

Hundreds of acres of forests are engulfed by forest fire every summer. Places like Ramanagudda, Anashi, Kudremukh range, Shishila range, Balur betta, Charmadi, Hosmanegudda, Soppinagudda, Baleribetta, Deodderibetta, Barimale, Devaramale, Kudremukh Gangadikallu, Balige Kana and Deepadakallu, always face the brunt of forest fire damaging the rich flora and fauna in the Western Ghats.

In recent years, some places were hit by forest fires 2-3 times. But this year it has decreased significantly and environmentalists give the credit to Lockdown.
“This time the forest fire is notably less,” activist and Sahyadri Sanchaya convener Dinesh Holla told Deccan Chronicle.

Holla has been organizing educational tours to students regularly in the Western Ghats for several years and thus knows every nook and corner of the region well.

“This time forest fire was limited to some places near Kudremukh, Shishila, Balur betta and Charmadi. Last year Ramanagudda had forest thrice in three different places. But this year it is free from fire. Similar is the case with Balegudda, Dodderibetta, and Devaramane which have not seen any fire this year,” he says.
Holla gives the credit to Lockdown.

“This is certainly because of lockdown as the movement of people was restricted. This year, the temperature and heat were the same or even more than last year. The grass had completely dried. Even then there was no forest fire this year. The only difference was the Lockdown. As human movement was restricted there has been no forest fire,” he said.

“Officials always claimed that the forest fire was due to natural reasons while we argued that it was mainly man-made. This year we weren proved right. The tourists, hunters, and illegal forest product collectors are mainly responsible for the forest fire. The tourists who come to homestays and resorts within the forest set campfire which they do not extinguish properly. Similarly, the hunters and the forest product collectors who go to the forest at night, light fire for cooking and to keep wild animals away. This small fire, later on, engulfs the entire forest at times. However this year due to lockdown their movement was restricted,” he said.

The small amount of forest fire was however due to local reasons.

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