Ooty: As the drying weather brings distress to the jungle ecology in the hills here and the threat of wild fire looms large, the State Forest department has geared up to tackle the issue.
Lack of rains since December, continuing hot and dry weather coupled with frost-bite in the preceding weeks, have taken juice out of the leaves that made the woods become brittle and pose a dried-up look to the jungles, especially in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR and jungles in the foot hill portions of Nilgiris like Gudalur limits.
This makes the woods become more vulnerable to wildfire and making life nightmarish to foresters. But the department is leaving no stone unturned.
Stating that drawing of fire prevention lines, popularly known as fire-line, is underway across the jungles in Nilgiris, Mr. Deepak Srivastava, chief conservator of forests (CCF) at Coimbatore circle an Field Director (in-charge) of MTR, explained that fire-line is virtually clearing the twigs and bushes by charring them at the particular breadth and length across the jungles as the charred surface play immune for jungle safety. That condition would prevent wild fire from spreading from one sector to another sector of the woods, in case of occurrence of forest fire.
This apart, recruitment of temporary fire watchers are being done in various Forest divisions for round-the-clock monitoring. As many as 32 anti- poaching camps in Coimbatore forest circle, that includes Nilgiris, have been directed to discharge the functions of fire monitoring camps and 31 watch towers have been erected already for round-the-clock monitoring, he noted.
Admitting that forest fire management is a challenging and arduous task, Mr. Srivastava said that a well-equipped disaster management unit with better wireless communication system was functioning at MTR as well as in district forest offices to deal with forest fire issues.This centre is equipped with the necessary firefighting equipment and well connected with other forest range units through communications facilities to receive the information about the occurrence of forest fire and to pass information to staff on fire fighting duty to mobilize their strength to wherever needed, he pointed out.
To facilitate better forest fire management in Gudalur division, efforts were underway to erect a repeater station at Frog Hill region in Gudalur to pep up better wireless communication system. Moreover, a facility has been set up at Chennai by the Forest department to pass information regarding outbreak of forest fires, he noted and added that all the forest beat-level forest guards have been instructed to report to the forest range officers on the daily situation report.
The Forest department has also been creating awareness among the public and tourists on forest fire and the need for co-operation from people from all walks of life for better forest management in the odd hours, he added....