Hyderabad: Despite forest officials using firelines for the past two months, there has been no decrease in the number of forest fires in the past few months. There were as many as 383 fires on March 21, which was observed as World Forestry Day, and 159 on March 22 for a total of 542 in two days
Forest officials said the fires were natural, environmentalists questions the purpose of the government’s Haritha Haram programme to plant more trees when so many forest fires are occurring daily.
“What is the use of planting lakhs of saplings when forest fires are occurring so often,” said an environmentalist. He said that forest fires not only endanger flora and fauna but damage wildlife habitat and affect biodiversity.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests (administration and IT) Munindra said, “Two months back we have started using firelines to control forest fires. We thought there would be a decline in the number of fires but it has become difficult to control the outbreak of fires."
A fireline is a gap created in vegetation to act as a boundary in the event of a forest fire. Vegetation in the gap may be burnt to prevent fires from spreading. He said many forest fires started from natural causes such as lightning. The rain that follows usually extinguishes such fires without causing much damage. High atmospheric temperatures and dryness or low humidity are conducive to fires starting. Some fires are set off by human intervention, such as by carelessly throwing cigarette or bidi butts or electric sparks from power lines.
According to data, Khammam suffered the most forest fires at 179, followed by Adilabad (124), Warangal (89), Karimnagar (53), Ranga Reddy (36), Medak (18), Mahbubnagar (18), Nizamabad (17) and Nalgonda (8)....