Forest fires in AP start rising with approaching summer

VIJAYAWADA: With day temperatures rising, Andhra Pradesh is witnessing a gradual increase in forest fires, with 537 of them reported between November 1, 2022 and February 8, 2023.

Monthly reports reveal that forest fires have risen from nine in November to 24 in December. In January, they went up to 224. February has already recorded 280 fires.

Kurnool forest circle comprising Kadapa, Kurnool, Nandyal and Proddatur divisions reported the highest number of 179 forest fires; followed by Anantapur consisting of Anantapur, Chittoor and Sri Satya Sai divisions reporting 106 fires; Visakhapatnam involving Narsipatnam, Paderu, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram divisions recording 86 fires; Srisailam with Atmakur and Markapur divisions indicating 77 fires; Rajamahendravaram comprising Chittoor, Eluru, Kakinada and Krishna divisions showing 47 fires; Tirupati consisting of Chittoor and Rajampet divisions revealing 24 fires and Guntur circle involving Giddalur, Guntur and Nellore divisions reporting 18 forest fires from the time temperatures started rising.

Overall, Rayalaseema region has reported the maximum forest fires.

A welcome feature is forest authorities revealing that compared to previous two years, number of forest fires are relatively less. They attribute this to AP witnessing rainfall up to December, with certain regions recording rains in January too.

Generally, Maha Sivaratri puts foresters on their toes. There are sizeable number of devotees, who visit Shiva temples located in forests. They invariably organise bonfires with available firewood to beat the chill in night and cook food during day. Some of them are negligent about leaving no kindred burning. This results in forest fires. Sivaratri this year is on February 18.

There is regular trouble from cattle grazers too, who throw burning beedis and cigarettes carelessly, causing fires.

With temperatures going up, foresters have started sensitising people, particularly cattle grazers, about fires. Local NGOs and youth are being involved in the drive. Rallies, Kala Jataras, Burra Kathas are being organised to drive home the message that forests should be protected from fires especially during the summer, as they cause damage or even lead to loss of flora and fauna.

AP Fire Monitoring Cell nodal officer M. Ravi Sankar Sharma said, “We are closely monitoring the situation. We remain fully geared up at all times to deal with forest fires in the state effectively.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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