The Bold Voice of J&K

Forest fires: Causes, control & protective measures

0 55

G L KHAJURIA

Come summer and we shall witness. ‘Forest Fires’, with the temperature striding over 44 degree Celsius. The losses so emanating from such hazards are staggering. Besides, forest fires, fire incidents elsewhere are on the rise and engulfing structures and reducing them to ashes. The loss of life property runs into lakhs and sometimes even up to crores. The preventive measures are, therefore, of utmost importance as the saying goes a single stick can harm the whole forests.
In J&K, the fire most commonly engulf periodically the ‘the Shivalik ranges from Lakhanpur to the tip of the border touching Poonch and comprising mostly of scrub forest with chirpine as the most economical species. Nature has itself provided chirpine thick bark for its susceptibility but it is more prone to fire. Admittedly man made big strides in modern days information technology and other allied fields, yet so far no full proof method could be devised to control this malady which strike very year with the onset of summer spells.
In the higher stretches of forest where chirpine, blue pine, deodar, and spruce exist, the incidence are far lesser but once it engulfs those forests, it is havoc. The ground flora is burnt to cinder, off shooting crown fire which spreads swiftly thus making the situation grave and uncomfortable.
Though the modern days man has scrupulous advancement in science and technology, construction of roads bridges, hydral projects and the like and all these factors such as road links provide a smooth ground for moments through forest and the unmindful man, in, his pleasuring travels throw cigarette which ignites the dry needles of springing wild fir which uncontrollably engulfs big chunks of forest.
Man by virtue of nature has born with greed as the saying goes, nature can fulfill man’s need but not its greed goes true. So the man, in almost 80 percent cases, is responsible by putting the forest ground fire for the yield of rich and flourishing grass to fulfill gross requirements for cattle.
A man in the street raises finger towards forest department which is not so. This is baseless, unfounded and uncalled for as the forest department over the years has by all dints protected and preserved the forest at the cost of their life.
There are glaring examples on record where in most of cases the forest officials had to play with their lives in controlling forest fires. It does not go without saying that a poor forester is helpless and ill-equipped to counter menace without local cooperation whereas the forest laws provide that in the event of forest fire, it is obligatory on the part of locals to render all possible assistance underlaw.
They are supposed to assemble at site of fire give/ record their attendants in extinguishing forest fire and make all efforts with forest officials. However, invalids, old persons and female have been exempted from this preview of law and that’s why, the local inhabitants are granted concessions in issuance of concessions of timber/ other within the concession zone besides the glazing of domestic animals in the open forest except those prohibited under law en vogue. But ironically, the care is otherwise as the local response is very poor and it becomes cumbersome to face the situation by the department single handedly.
All the dead dying and diseased fallen material left after the exploitation by the state forest cooperation agencies are breeding grounds for spread of diseases whereby health crops are inflicted and more so with the unset of dry spell, this material provides empties for further inflammation to the fire. The solution, therefore, lies in the disposal of such remnant material by debris burning under the close surveillance of the department or to issue such timber to the local concessionist. In forestry parlance a wild strip is being lay down in the forest most vulnerable to fire, the nature/ density of the crop and the extent of vulnerability. All unwanted bushes, poles and even trees are cut and removed to make it into a wild passage so that in the eventually of fire it does not get an occasion to cross adjoining part of forest.
The fire lines formations are warranted. Control burning with the onset of autum there is leaf litter fall particularly both in the desidous/ conifer forests which almost covered the forest floor, and inflammable material. In order, therefore, to safeguard the forest from the climatic, it becomes imparriate to collect all such leaf litter and remove to safer places for control burning under the supervision of forest department. As is envogue with the fire service department, necessary infrastructure such as fire beaters, pick axes, bill-hooks, fire proof jackets, hats and other infrastructure needs to be kept at the Disposal of the department. This is imperative and warrantive. Construction of watch towers is most help aspect and the watch towers need to be constructed at equidistance for close surveillance and regular monitoring so that as an aware fire others, rapid action can be taken instantly to combat and control spreading. Forest protection force is an independent wing provided with wireless sets and all communicative infrastructures. This wing as a crucial role to play with to combat fire hazards. He force further needs to be invigorate and fortified to safeguard he green wealth. Construction of water ponds help in extinguishing forest fires in much needed areas besides fulfilling multi purposed and can go a long way-in combating fire hazards with the advancement of modern technology. Most of the European/advance countries are pressing into the use of foam gas which grips/ control the fire, the CFC (Chlorofloro Carbon) and halogen gases are further he most useful gases in extinguishing fire. These technologies as well to be introduced in our country.
Conclusively, therefore, it is quite pertinent to work out fool proof strategies if at all we humans have to live over this precious mother earth which has bestowed upon us by the almighty godand let us be fear of him.
(The writer is Former Dy Conservator of Forests, J&K).

Leave a comment
WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com