Keonjhar: The forest personnel in Keonjhar forest division have initiated measures to prevent cases of forest fires that cause massive ecological and economic losses to forest wealth.
Outbreak of forest fire has become an annual phenomenon in forested areas of the district in scorching summer days. As temperature soar, standing trees shed dry leaves and these leaves have often turned out to be potential source of fire outbreak, said forest officials.
A standard operating procedure is being followed to prevent forest fires. Special squads comprising ground-level forest staffs have been constituted to keep vigil in dense forest to stop fire outbreak. They are being provided fire blowers to douse the fire, said Divisional Forest Officer, Santosh Joshi.
Fire protection check posts manned by forest guards are being installed at fire-prone pockets. Fire protection squads would be on the jobs with motorcycles along with fire blowers to gain access to motorable forested areas. With vehicles and blowers at their disposals, forest department personnel could easily rush to douse forest fire, he said.
People living on the fringes of forest play a key role in checking forest fires. It’s these villages who get whiff of fire before the forest personnel could come to know of it. As forest wealth is a permanent livelihood source for them, people from these forest-side villages need to get involved in the fire fighting.
The forest department is organizing awareness programme to sensitize the people to curb forest fire. Prompt response and early dissemination of alert information is vital to save the forest from fire destruction. Often, the squads are informed of the fire at conflagrated stage. So it becomes an uphill task to tame the inferno, said officials.
Fire-induced loss to forest wealth is immense and irreparable. The timber species besides fruit-bearing tress are gutted. It takes years for trees to grow up. But spark could reduce the forest wealth within minutes. Fire also destroys wildlife and its habitat. Nests and eggs of ground dwelling birds are lost. Reptiles also lose their young ones due to forest fires.