Saturday, April 10, 2021

Forest Department should strive towards the goal of zero fires; Webinar on Forest fire;By Sudhir Mishra /Bolangir

 By

Sudhir Mishra/Bolangir

7thApril2021

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Bolangir ;While state of Odisha in the disaster management, especially in Cyclone has achieved zero casualty, efforts of the State looks forward to zero casualties and called upon the Forest Department to ensure  towards the goal of zero fires in forthcoming times

This was  the important views that emerged in a webinar on forest fire held recently(2nd April2021) organized by  RCDC and Odisha Commons Exchange, to understand the present the situation of forest fire in Odisha, especially in the context of this happening in the months of February, a forest fire in wildlife sanctuaries and contribution of climate change to it,  Explore the immediate actions to be taken for prevention of forest fire in the remaining months of summer, and to develop the broad contours of a long term strategy for mitigating forest fire by taking the communities into confidence,

 

Forest fire in Odisha is usually occurred from March to May in Odisha. And much to the surprise of many But this year forest fire , started from mid of February and the huge forest fire in the Similipal Biosphere reserve captured the attention of the national and international media and Odisha figured in the top of the list of forest fire incidents in the country.

According to the Forest Survey of India (FSI), at least 5,291 forest fires were recorded in Odisha between 22nd February and 1st March , the highest in the country for the same period. Forest and Environment Minister of Odisha Bikram Keshari Arukh has informed the State Assembly in session now that since January this year till date (24th March2021) 23,473 fire incidents have been reported in the state devouring about 159 square kms of forest

 

Incidents of forest fire are increasing. Explaining the various causes and Sri Prabhat Mishra told how community members have been traditionally proactive on reporting and putting out forest fires in association with workers of the Forest Department.

 

Forest fires, it has been observed   mostly anthropogenic and forest fires were more prominent in deciduous forests and maximum number occurred in South Odisha opines Manoj Mahapatra RCCF Berhamputr He called upon all stakeholders to cooperate in preventing and mitigating forest fires. Sri Mohapatra  pointed out how the Department is  taking note of community efforts and providing incentives to encourage positive changes, and he sought cooperation all to fight forest fire effectively.

 

The process of approving individual and community forest rights should step up to enthuse the community to do more and the process of CFR management would go a long way in protecting and conserving the forests. He was of the opinion that the capacity of all stakeholders must be strengthened and coordination must improve to address the menace points out Satya Pattnaik

 

 

As per the satellite data, forest fire clusters are developing in certain pockets of Odisha and it is important to keep watch on them. He dwelt on the climatic factors that could be driving the fires points out  Barna Baibhav Panda

 

The Forest Department continues to look upon the forest as a production unit. It should change its stance and concentrate on conservation of forests with an eye towards enriching the livelihoods of the forest dwellers. He also called upon the State to strengthen the Forest Department and enhance coordinated efforts, opines Sri Gitanjay Sahoo

Forests are vital and all the inhabitants of the Earth should think of themselves as one community and look after the welfare of forests. Ms Nibedita Dash.

 

While the state of Odisha excelled in achieving zero casualties in the disaster management like of Cyclone , efforts of the State the Forest Department should strive to move towards the goal of zero fires also opines Dr Ambika Nanda

The forest department should engage and involve the youth in mitigating forest fires, besides sensitizing the   women on forest fire and prevention, opines Kailash Dash.

Community is moving away from viewing forests as an essential resource particularly as modern life is moving away from nature towards artificial goods like plastic and proper marketing of MFP could reverse this stance, says Kulamani Sahu

There is the  need for a long term plan to mitigate forest fires keeping in view the impacts of climate change. There is also a need to renew the interests of the community in the forests and ensure their rights over the resource. The community is the best managers of forests and the traditional ways of forest management must be renewed says Sri Pradeep Brahma.

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