More fires are raging in Himachal Pradesh forests this summer : The Tribune India

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More fires are raging in Himachal Pradesh forests this summer

220 incidents reported in 2 months against 94 last summer

More fires are raging in Himachal Pradesh forests this summer

A fire rages in a forest in Shimla’s Kaithu. TRIBUNE PHOTO: LALIT KUMAR



Tribune News Service

Navneet Rathore

Shimla, May 15

The state has reported 220 incidents of forest fire in the past two months, compared 94 cases in the last summer season. The number was low last year due to frequent rain during the summer season. As many as 656 forest fire incidents were reported in 2023-24. This year, the forest fire incidents have been reported from areas near Shimla, including Taradevi, Mashobra and Naldehra, besides Bharari, Tutikandi and Kamyana in the town over the past few weeks.

As per the Forest Department data, the Dharamsala forest circle has reported 43 incidents of the forest fire, highest in the state in summer season, followed by 40 in Hamirpur forest circle, 35 in Mandi, 32 in Nahan, 29 in Solan, 16 in Bilaspur, 10 in Shimla, eight in Chamba, six in Rampur and one in Kullu.

55,673 sq km is state’s total geographical area

15,443 sq km is forest cover, which is 27.72% of the total area

Area-wise, 381.84 hectares of area in Hamirpur circle has been affected by fire, followed by Bilaspur (229.5 hectares), Dharamsala (222.75 hectares), Solan (221.7 hectares), Nahan (195.9 hectares), Mandi (181.6 hectares), Shimla (70 hectares), Chamba (56.3 hectares), Rampur (40.5 hectares) and Kullu (13 hectares).

Rajiv Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Himachal Pradesh, said most forest fire incidents were caused by human activities. “Sometimes, people throw burning cigarettes and do not put out fire after lighting it for various purposes like cooking, which lead to fire,” he added.

He said an action was taken against the offenders and those caught doing so had been booked. Kumar added that in order to control forest fires in the state, the Forest Department conducts pre and post forest fire activities, besides measures taken when a fire breaks out.

Use tech to check forest fires: Guv

Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla on Wednesday stressed the need for the use of modern technology to combat forest fires. Interacting with a batch of 64 Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers, who called on him at Raj Bhawan, Shukla said the nature has blessed Himachal and they would get to see the dense forest areas in Shimla. “Our ancestors have defined the importance of forests in such a way that planting one tree is equivalent to having 10 children and now you will have the responsibility of conservation and development of these forests,” he added. TNS

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