Jammu and Kashmir reports one forest fire daily with official documents say that 95 such incidents are man-made.
According to the official figures, every year 350 forest fires get reported in Jammu and Kashmir, indicating that one such incident occurs daily.
An official document says the natural causes of forest fires are reported to be less than 5 percent of the total number of fires caused in a year while 95 percent are man-made that could be prevented by preventive measures by the government and the people alike.
“The natural causes normally start forest fires by lightning. These fires are normally rare. Even in the country the natural causes are reported to be less than five percent of the total number of fires caused in a year. The most common cause of forest fire is man-made which can be either because of carelessness or deliberate and intentional,” the document reads.
The forests in Kashmir region mostly fall in dry temperate class. These forests are predominantly having conifers comprising Deodar, Kail and Fir. These forests are not normally vulnerable to forest fires as they are predominately having evergreen species and lush green ground cover.
A senior official of the Forest Department suggested the government to take some measures to prevent man made forest fires in Jammu and Kashmir.
“There needs to be connectivity by providing wireless sets / cell phones, mobility facilities (some pickup Vans) and proper gear for the staff to save themselves from any injury while extinguishing fires, first aid kits for emergencies and tools for carrying out the fire control operations,” the official said.
The official said that artificial boundaries are demarcated around forest land at several places in the Union Territory. “Half of the forest land is open without any demarcation,” the official said.
He said that the increase in forest fires happen due to non-demarcation of forest land in Jammu and Kashmir. “Had the forests been demarcated, less such incidents would have happened,” the official said.
The official said that thousands of kanals of forest land are still under encroachment and the government has failed to retrieve that from encroachers. (KINS)