Forest Fires in 2021
Why in News?
- Forest fires break out in the spring, and why they have been so frequent in 2021 (45 fires in Uttarakhand on 5 April 2021 itself)
Period of Occurrence
- April-May is the season when forest fires take place in various parts of the country.
How prone to fire are India’s forests?
- ‘Very highly prone’: Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar
- ‘Extremely prone’: Assam, Mizoram, Tripura Western Maharashtra, Southern Chhattisgarh and areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, along with central Odisha
- Commonly reported when ground has large quantities of dry wood, logs, dead leaves, stumps, dry grass and weeds.
- Extreme heat and dryness, lack of soil moisture, dry soil caused by a weak monsoon; friction created by rubbing of branches, even a spark from a cigarette butt, or a carelessly discarded lit matchstick
Why a concern?
- Important for mitigation and adaptation to climate change; act as a sink, reservoir and source of carbon
- Multiple adverse effects on the forest cover, soil, tree growth, vegetation, and the overall flora and fauna; making it unfit for any vegetation growth.
- Destroyed animal habitats; decreased soil quality decrease with the alteration in their compositions. Soil moisture and fertility, too, is affected. Thus forests can shrink in size.
Efforts to protect from forest fires
FSI developed Forest Fire Alert System to monitor forest fires in real time (2004)
Advanced version launched in January 2019; uses satellite information gathered from NASA and ISRO.
Real-time fire information from identified fire hotspots is gathered using MODIS sensors (1km by 1km grid) and electronically transmitted to FSI.
Information sent via email at state, district, circle, division, range, beat levels, users are issued SMS alerts.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
The National Disaster Response Force is an Indian specialized force constituted for the purpose of special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Headquarters: Antyodaya Bhawan, New Delhi
Forest Survey of India (FSI)
FSI was founded in June 1981 and headquartered at Dehradun in Uttarakhand, is a Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organization for conducting forest surveys, studies and research to periodically monitor the changing situation of land and forest resources and present data for National Planning, conservation, and sustainable management of environmental protection as well as for the implementation of social forestry projects.
Formation: June 1, 1981
Headquarters: Dehradun, India