Focus on threat due to man-made forest fire: Experts

Focus on threat due to a man-made forest fire: Experts

Published: Mar 29, 2018, 1:17 am IST
The organisation has written to the state government stating that there has been over 250 instances of forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.
The organization has written to the state government stating that there have been over 250 instances of a forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.

Mumbai: The Draft National Forest policy focuses on preventing natural forest fires and upgrading the warning process but it makes no mention of the threat posed by man-made forest fires. In Maharashtra, which has the highest cases of forest fire registered in the country, environmentalists have claimed that most of the cases are of man-made fire incidents. The same has been observed in Mumbai and Thane.

The Draft National Forest Policy states, “Adequate measures would be taken to safeguard ecosystems from forest fires, map the vulnerable areas and develop and strengthen early warning systems and methods to control fire, based on remote sensing technology and community participation.” It also mentions that awareness will be created about causes and impacts of fire on forests and local livelihoods.

“Although there has been an acknowledgment on the increasing cases of forest fires, not much has been considered for the prevention of man-made fire in forests. In fact in forest areas of Raigad, there have been consistent cases of deliberate fire by arsonists. As such, apart from regular monitoring, we need better convictions for such miscreants,” said Godfrey Pimenta, Trustee of Watchdog Foundation. The organization has written to the state government stating that there have been over 250 instances of the forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.

As per the data submitted in the Lok Sabha last December, around 3,487 incidents of forest fire were recorded in Maharashtra alone in 2017.

While the policy has also highlighted on afforestation activities in the catchment areas for improving the health of rivers, not much focus has been given on the reasons behind the deterioration of these areas, claimed the NGO. “Apart from afforestation, there is an immediate need to check upon soil erosion and denudation in catchment areas of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs,” added Mr. Pimenta.

Mysterious smoking elephant emerges from a forest fire

Mysterious smoking elephant emerges from a forest fire

The Times

Wildlife experts are puzzling over a video of a wild Indian elephant exhaling a small cloud of ash it had picked up from the remains of a fire, which appeared to resemble smoking.

The video, which has only just come to light, was shot in Nagarhole forest in the southern state of Karnataka two years ago by Vinay Kumar, a scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. The society said that it was the first known evidence of an elephant exhibiting such behavior.


Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Last update 11:24 | 14/03/2018
The Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is facing a level-4 risk of fires, which is likely to be raised to level 5, the level of extreme danger, said the sanctuary management board on March 13.

The lengthy hot spell brought high temperatures to the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary that dry canals and make plants more flammable, putting it on high alert for fires

In response to the situation, the management board has worked on shifts round the clock to watch out for the possible fires, cleared bushes and dredged canals over the past month.

It has also mobilized about 40 local residents living nearby to stay ready for any emergency while households living around the park’s buffer zone have been provided training on forest protection and asked to sign commitments that they will not set a fire in the forests.

On March 13, the board teamed up with the local firefighter police to conduct a firefighting exercise with more than 100 people in attendance.

Located in Nha Mat ward, the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary is only 7km from downtown Bac Lieu city. The 130-hectare park is home to over 60,000 birds, belonging to about 100 species, many of which are in danger.-VNA

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Last update 10:49 | 12/03/2018

Provinces in the Mekong Delta have stepped up efforts to prevent forest fires as the region is entering the highly risky dry season.

In the southernmost province of Ca Mau, many measures have been put in place, especially to protect the 8,500ha U Minh Ha National Park.

Water in the higher parts of the park have been drying out since the beginning of this month and the threat of forest fire is high, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Huynh Minh Nguyen, director of the park, said rangers have taken positions in watch towers to monitor the park around the clock.

They also regularly patrol the park to prevent people from entering to collect honey, hunt or fish, activities that could cause fires.

More than 5,000 families living in the park’s buffer zone and cajeput forests have been mobilized to help fight forest fires.

The department has called on private individuals managing forests to implement preventive measures against fires.

Forest management units should regularly assess the dryness to take proper fire-prevention measures and teach local households how to prevent fires, it said.

This month the hot weather peaks in the south, according to the South Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting.

In An Giang province, districts with large forest areas including Tinh Bien and Tri Ton are in a state of preparedness to prevent fires, said Tran Phu Hoa, head of the province Forest Protection Sub-department., adding that Tinh Bien alone has more than 6,270ha of forests that face the risk of fires.

Kien Giang province has seven areas that face fire risks, namely U Minh Thuong National Park, Phu Quoc National Park, Phu Quoc protective forest, Hon Dat – Kien Ha protective forest, An Bien – An Minh coastal protective forest, and a forest managed by the 422 Forestry Plantation Project.

The provincial People’s Committee has issued orders to strengthen fire prevention measures.

Kien Giang has 86,450ha of zoned forests, accounting for 13.6 percent of its total area, according to its Forest Protection Sub-department.

It has spent more than 10 billion VND (440,000 USD) on preparations to prevent forest fires this year.

Truong Thanh Hao, head of the local Forest Protection Sub-department, said the province had instructed local forest rangers, the police, army, and militia to work closely to prevent fires.

The province has built temporary dams and dredged wells in forests to store water, cleared dried branches and bushes in forests and established firebreaks.

Forest management units have stepped up checks and will close the forests at the peak of the dry season.-VNA

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Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Update: March, 11/2018 – 13:00

Viet Nam News 
GIA LAI — A fire that broke out in the Ia Grai protection forest in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai was brought under control on Sunday morning.
However, more than 40ha of a forest, comprising pine trees planted in 2015, was destroyed.
Lê Tiến Hiệp, head of the forest’s management board, said that the fire occurred on Friday afternoon.
More than 200 people from the management board, provincial Border Guards and local residents from Ia Chía and Ia O communes were called to extinguish the fire.
The team managed to temporarily halt the fire on Friday night. However, due to dry conditions and strong winds, the flames reappeared. Ia Grai District authorities called for more firemen from Đức Cơ District to stamp out it.
Ia Grai District authorities kept a close watch on the scene to prevent the fire from re-occurring.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. — VNS

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Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

Updated on

Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Four Indonesian provinces have declared emergencies in anticipation of worsening forest fires that each year spread health-damaging haze across much of Southeast Asia.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Wednesday that emergency alerts in Riau and South Sumatra provinces on the island of Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan on Borneo will make it easier to mobilize fire-fighting operations and support from the central government.

The agency said satellites have detected 90 “hotspots” or fires across Indonesia, with the biggest numbers in West and Central Kalimantan. Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province, has been blanketed in smoke, it said.

Record Indonesian forest fires in 2015 spread haze across a swath of Southeast Asia and, according to a study by Harvard and Columbia universities, hastened 100,000 deaths.

Fires are often started by smallholders and plantation companies to clear land for planting. Many areas of Indonesia are prone to rapid burning because of the draining of swampy peatland forests for pulpwood and palm oil plantations.

Pontianak resident Reinardo Sinaga said rain in the past few days reduced the choking smoke that had affected the city for the previous two weeks.

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