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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 1863
ANSWERED ON:  30.07.2021
Increase in Forest Fires
Sanjay Sadashivrao Mandlik
Balak Nath
Subrata Pathak
Shrirang Appa Barne
Chandra Sekhar Sahu
Sudheer Gupta
Manoj Kumar Tiwari
Ravindra Kushawaha
Bidyut Baran Mahato
Sumedhanand Saraswati
Prataprao Jadhav
Devji Mansingram Patel
Will the Minister of



ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the cases of forest fires in the country have increased during the last three years and if so, the details thereof, State/UT-wise including Mount Abu, Rajasthan;
(b) whether any study has been conducted so far to ascertain the factors responsible for such fires, if so, the details and the outcome thereof;
(c) whether forest fires have adversely affected flora and fauna of forests, if so, the details of surveys undertaken in this regard;
(d) whether the Government proposes to train forest staff/officials and equip them with modern state-of-the art equipments to control such fires and if so, the details thereof; and
(e) the other steps including composting of dried leaves being considered by the Government to check forest fires; and
(f) the corrective steps taken by the Government to check recurrence of forest fires?


ANSWER
MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE
(SHRI ASHWINI KUMAR CHOUBEY)

(a), (b) & (c) The number of incidences of forest fire in the country varies from year to year depending on various natural and anthropogenic reasons. Forest fires do occur every year during summer due to various natural and anthropogenic reasons including accumulation of inflammable materials such as dry leaves, twigs, pine needles etc. These factors have also been highlighted in a joint study by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and the World Bank. Most of the forest fires in the country are ground fires in which ground vegetation, etc. get burnt. The Forest Survey of India (FSI) sends forest fire alerts to all registered users on this alert system. The State/UT- wise number of forest fire alerts sent by FSI during last three fire seasons in Annexure-I, and forest fire alerts for Mount Abu, Rajasthan is in Annexure-II.

(d),(e)& (f) The responsibility of forest fire prevention and management lies primarily with the respective State/UT. The Ministry supports the efforts of the States/ UTs in prevention and control of forest fire by providing financial assistance for various forest fire prevention and management measures such as modern tools for fire extinguishing, use of communication and information technology, etc creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation works in high risk areas, awareness creation, incentivizing villages/communities for protection against forest fire etc. under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme. In addition, the FSI has taken following steps to improve the forest fire alert system:-

(i) FSI has pursued with States/UTs to increase the number of registered users of its alert system. Now, the number of such registered users has increased to around 1.30 lakh.
(ii) FSI also generates and disseminates “Weekly Early-Warning Alerts” of forest fire to concerned States/UTs.
(iii) FSI has also initiated an innovative “Large Forest Fire Monitoring” programme in January 2019 which aims at improving tactical as well as strategic response to large forest fires by the respective States/UTs.

In addition to above initiatives by FSI, the Government has constituted a national level committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary of the Ministry that oversees the issues arising out of forest fire. The committee has advised all states to take several measures including constituting State-level Monitoring Committee on Forest Fire, preparing State Action Plan on Forest Fire, and Fire Risk Zonation mapping.


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