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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 5093
ANSWERED ON:  04.04.2022
Forest Fire
Bharatiben Dhirubhai Shyal
Nama Nageswara Rao
Will the Minister of



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


(a) whether it is true that forests are getting destroyed due to large scale forest fires;
(b) the number of such incidents that come to the notice of the Government in the last three years along with the reasons therefor and the number of forest areas saved from the fire, State-wise details thereof;
(c) whether it is a fact that climate change has led to an increase in instances of forest fires in the country destroying ecosystems of varied species and releasing thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, if so details thereof;
(d) the details of the budget allocated and utilized by the Government under the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme in the last three years; and
(e) if so, the steps taken/likely to be taken by the Government to check the incidents of forest fires?


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

(a)& (b) The number of incidences of forest fire in the country varies from year to year and occur during fire season from November to May every year due to various natural and anthropogenic reasons including accumulation of inflammable materials such as dry leaves, twigs, pine needles etc. 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 Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during last three years is given in Annexure-I.

(c) The Ministry in collaboration with the World Bank has conducted a study on Situation Analysis of Forest Fire and released a study report titled “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India” which contains various recommendations regarding forest fire prevention, detection, suppression, post-fire management, engaging with communities, coordination with other agencies. As per the report Nation-wide estimates of CO2 released have ranged from 6.34 million tons CO2 per year to 123.84 million tons CO2 per year. However, data regarding the Carbon released into the atmosphere due to forest fires is not maintained at the level of this Ministry.

(d) The Ministry supports the efforts of State/Union Territory Governments in prevention and control of forest fire by providing financial assistance for various forest fire prevention and management measures under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme based on their Annual Plan of Operation as per the guidelines of the scheme. The details of the budget allocated and utilized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme in the last three years is given below:-

(Rs. In Crore)
Year BE (Budget Estimate) RE (Revised Estimate) Expenditure incurred
2018-19 50.00 50.00 46.5742
2019-20 50.00 47.00 46.8469
2020-21 50.00 33.00 32.8566

(e) 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. A sum of about Rs.125 crore (Rupees One hundred twenty five crore) have been released to the States in last three years (2018-19 to 2020-21) under this 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 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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