Dept be­gins to pre­pare for fu­ture for­est fires

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Virat A Singh cor­re­spon­[email protected]­

Even as of­fi­cials from San­jay Gandhi Na­tional Park (SGNP) said that they have be­gun their prepa­ra­tions to fight for­est fires much in ad­vance this year, wildlife ac­tivists have urged for­est depart­ment to also set up a team com­pris­ing of trained vol­un­teers for help dur­ing such fires.

“Though the fire in Goregaon hillocks was on a pri­vate area, our staff of 40 peo­ple helped the fire brigade of­fi­cials to con­tain the fire quickly. After the in­ci­dent, we de­cided to be­gin our own prepa­ra­tions to man­age for­est fires in and around SGNP from now it­self, which nor­mally be­gins in Fe­bru­ary,” said Chief Con­ser­va­tor of For­est (CCF) and Di­rec­tor of SGNP An­war Ahmed.

Ahmed shared that he has al­ready put a 300-mem­ber team of fire watch­ers, which was formed last year, on alert. “We have mod­ern fire­fight­ing equip­ment and are plan­ning to pro­cure some early fire de­tec­tion equip­ments this year that can help us de­tect fire quickly and iden­tify the lo­ca­tion early,” he said, adding that 99 per cent of fires set in and around SGNP for­est were man-made.

We have mod­ern fire-fight­ing equip­ment and are plan­ning to pro­cure some early fire de­tec­tion equip­ment this year An­war Ahmed,

CCF and Di­rec­tor of SGNP

Con­tain­ing for­est fires, es­pe­cially after March, when the en­tire for­est is dry and full of leaf lit­ter are ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to con­trol.

As per the of­fi­cials, the most im­por­tant as­pect of man­ag­ing a for­est fire is early de­tec­tion. “We al­ready have some tow­ers and by Jan­uary, more tow­ers will be set up along im­por­tant ar­eas to keep a watch on for­est fires. Once its de­tected, var­i­ous teams are dis­patched,” said an of­fi­cial. Full re­port on www.dnain­

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