CHENNAI: With the summer approaching and forest fires being reported from certain spots in the state, including a major incident near Kodaikanal, the state forest department has taken precautionary measures anticipating more fire incidents till May.
"Pre-monsoon (Southwest Monsoon) southwest winds and summer temperature trigger dried up grasslands in the forest areas to catch fire. Usually, forest fire incidents would occur in Tamil Nadu from January to April and this period is critical. In some spots, fires may occur up to May. We started preparing for the forest fires from December, " Srinivas R Reddy, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and chief wildlife warden, said.
He explained that after the Northeast Monsoon in the state, grass in the forests mature. But once the winter season starts, they start drying due to frost. Once the southwest wind stops and monsoon rains start, forest fire incidents will come down.
When asked if any measures taken to prevent fire incidents, Srinivas R Reddy clarified that strategy has been devised based on location as specific landscape like plains, sloppy, forest or grassy requires a specific requirement.
Meanwhile, the department has traced fire lines, deployed fire watchers and taken up cool burning (to clear dried vegetation near roads) in fire prone spots.
"To prevent accidental spread of fire near roads and highways, vegetation was cleared on both sides. As most fires are ground fires, they are contained within two or three days, " he said.
In order to monitor the fires real-time and mobilize fire fighters, the government is using real-time monitoring technology. Apart from this, mapping of areas affected by forest fires are being made to assess the damages.
As per Forest Survey of India (FSI), as many as 3,984 forest fire incidents have been reported since November 1, 2022 across the state. Four days ago, a fire broke out near Kodaikanal and threatened to spiral into a huge fire. Despite the fire being contained within a day, close to 10 hectares of forest area was destroyed.
Meanwhile, unexpected rains due to atmospheric circulation helped douse minor fires that were active in some areas three days ago.
Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!
Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!
Click here for iOS
Click here for Android