Vijayawada: Rainfall under the influence of the cyclonic storm Asani has helped control forest fires and save huge swathes of forest cover from burning in Andhra Pradesh.
The state forest department registered 13,609 incidents of fire, burning 6,391.75 hectares of forests from November 1, 2021 to April 30 this year. It had reported 19,579 fire incidents and the burning of forest areas over 10,934.52 hectares in the corresponding period last year.
The number of fire incidents dipped by 5,970 and the area of forests burnt reduced by 4,542.77 hectares in the current season of such fires, compared with last year’s incidents, officials said.
Forest divisions like Kadapa reported the highest number of fires in the current season -- 1,872, followed by Anantapur with 1,409, Markapur 1,071, Atmakur 1,006 and Chittoor West 919 incidents.
Though the forest fires begin from November and ends in June next, the incidents peak during February-May every year. June brings in southwest monsoon rains and the number of fire incidents falls.
The month-wise forest fire incidents this season showed that the number of forest fires reported in November were just two. The number rose to 18 in December, 111 in January, 1815 in February, 7,922 in March, 3741 in April and 435 in May.
With more incidents of forest fires reported in the last few days, the total number of forest fires reported during this period was 14,044.
The state forest authorities say a few spells of rainfall especially in parts of Rayalaseema region helped contain the number of forest fires. The latest rainfall under the influence of Asani further helped control forest fires especially in Rayalaseema region.
They say that as coastal districts also witnessed a rise in forest fires especially during May, the rainfall helped contain them.
As the IMD warns of heavy rainfall in parts of Rayalaseema and coastal AP in the next five days, up to May 21, the forest authorities sound confident that the scenario would improve further. The recent rainfall due to Asani in parts of north Andhra region covering Paderu, Narsipatnam etc resulted in the sprouting of plants in the forests.
As the trees and plants get soaked in the continuous rainfall and the leaf litter gets drenched on the ground, the chances of forest fires are relatively less.
As AP would witness rainfall under the influence of southwest monsoon a few days in advance this time, June, the last month of forest fires, is likely to see less of such incidents.
AP fire monitoring cell nodal officer Ravi Shankar said, “A few spells of rainfall, especially the latest one under influence of Asani, helped control forest fires and save thousands of hectares of forest cover from being burnt in AP.”