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Post at: Jun 15 2022

CEEW Study on Forest Fires

Why in News

  • on 7 April 2022, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) released the study named 'Managing Forest fires in a Changing Climate'. 

Finding of CEEW Study

  • There has been a ten - fold increase in forest fires in the past two decades.
  • More than 62 percent of Indian states are prone to high-intensity forest fires.
  • Significant forest fires have been reported in states such as Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. 
  • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Chattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra are the most prone to high - intensity forest fire events caused by rapid change in climate.
  • Mizoram has had the highest number of forest fire incidences in the last two decades, with more than 95 percent of its districts being fire hotspots.

  • Over 75 percent of the districts in India are hotspots for extreme climate events and over 30 percent of districts are hotspots for extreme forest fire.
  • Due to Climate Change - related swapping trend, the earlier flood - prone districts of India have now become drought - prone.

Recommendations from CEEW Study

  • Recognise forest fires as a disaster type and integrate it into national, sub national and local disaster management plans.
  • Forest fires as a hazard should be integrated and recognised in the National Action Plan on Climat Change (NAPCC) and SAPCC, that can have both mitigation and adaptation co-benefits.
  • The integration of forest fires in disaster management plans will also help in monitoring and financing of India's Bonn Challenge Commitments and NDCs.
  • Develop a forest fire - only alert system.
  • Enhance adaptive capacity like

    (i) Identification of risks

    (ii) Understanding the extent of damage

    (iii) Who could be/are the first set of responders  (forest dwellers/officers)

  • Provide clean air Shelters.

What are Forest Fires?

  • According to the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), forest fires are an unclosed and freely spreading fire that consumes the natural fuels. When a fire burns out of control it is known as wildfire.

Causes of Forest Fires

  • Natural Factors
    • Lightning/rubbing of dried leaves/trunks
    • Advanced heatwave with early anset of ssummer
  • Anthrpogenic Factors
    • Burning match stick, torchwood or cigratte
    • Electric poles
    • Temporarity built hearths
    • Crop stubble burning

Concerns associated with Forest Fires

  • Damages the regeneration in the forests and their productivity.
  • Adversely affects products and benefits provided by forest like firewood, no-timber produce, maintenance of aquifers and continuous flow of streams and springs.
  • Destroys the organic matter in the soil and exposes the top layer to erosion.
  • Impact on the wildlife habitation.
  • Danger to human life and property in certain cases.

Prevention Against forest fires

  • Forecasting fire-prone days using meteorological data.
  • Clearance of dried biomass.
  • Early burning of dry litter on the forest floor that is adopting controlled burn strategy as it helps stop out - of control wildfire.
  • Creating fire lines (strips in forest kept clean of vegetation to prevent fire from spreading).


 


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