Forest Fire: Control, Management & Prevention

Alekha Chandra Samal
A forest fire is a fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or rural area. Depending on the type of vegetation where it occurs, a forest fire can also be classified more specifically as a brush fire, bush fire, desert fire, wildfire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation fire, or veld fire. Earth is an intrinsically flammable planet owing to its cover of carbon rich vegetation, seasonally dry climates, atmospheric oxygen, and widespread lightning and volcanic ignitions. Causes : four major natural causes of forest fire ignitions are lightning, sparks from rock falls, spontaneous combustion,volcanic eruption. The most common direct human causes of forest fire ignition include arson, discarded cigarettes, power line arcs (as detected by arc mapping), and sparks from equipment. Forest fire can also be started in communities experiencing shifting cultivation, where land is cleared quickly and farmed until the soil loses fertility, and slash and burn clearing. Over the years forest fire occurrences across the globe have engulfed vast tracts of forest land besides resulting in soil degradation, change in climate conditions and adverse impacts on ecology. Fires are recurrent phenomena in India during the fire season. The wild fires cause incalculable loss of forest products and the biodiversity contained therein. Forest Survey of Indian (FSI) has been entrusted for forest fire monitoring, management and prevention. The duration time for the maximum forest fire occurrence in a state could provide the information for
crucial periods of fire occurrences. The estimation of the crucial time period has been carried out by averaging
out the day-wise frequency of total fire points of all the studied years. A Nationwide assessment of forest burnt area
in India using resource sat-2 AWiFS (Advanced Wide Field Sensor) has been carried out by National Remote Sensing
Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology
(IISST) in the year 2014. This assessment provides application of Resource sat-2 AWiFS satellite imagery for forest burn area assessment in India. A better understanding of the regional variations of fires can help foresters in improving preparedness by devising specific strategies suited for local conditions. Also an understanding of the inter annual variations of fires and their close linkage to climate and other local patterns of forest use can be used to foretell a severe season in advance. Accordingly an analysis of the forest fires using Global Monthly Fire Location Product
(MCD14ML), based on the long term forest fire alert data has been carried out to identify certain physiography and
climate. Global Monthly Fire Location Product (MCD14ML) Collection 6 is a science quality product processed by the
University of Maryland and freely distributed by LANCE FIRMS. Prevention: Forest fire prevention can be done by adopting these following practices. Silvicultural Practices, Clearance of Inflammable Material, Slash Disposal, Prescribed Burning, Extension and Education, Pasture and Animal Husbandry, Fire Lines, Evergreen Fuel Brakes, Closure and Restriction. A big chunk of forest area of the country is annually
affected by forest fires leading to enormous impact on our biodiversity and ecosystems. Over the years several areas
have been under frequent threat of fires and have perceived serious physiological, hydrological, phenological and vast changes in land use. The technology based tools are useful in generating fire alerts that help in minimizing the severity and extent of damage caused by fires. FSI has been using remote sensing and GIS techniques in near real time detection of forest fires and dissemination of information to the States Forest Departments since the year 2004.From the current fire season, system of forest fire detection and monitoring has been upgraded to reduce the time lag from earlier 24 hours to 2 hours so as to provide near instant alerts to forest personnel for taking timely action in prevention and control of the forest fires.
Ex-DFO (Kendulief), Pallai,
Balichandrapur, Jajpur,
Mob. : 9437257123

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