Dr. Savita, Chief Forest Conservation Officer (PCCF) of Himachal Pradesh, has warned of bushfires in the state after Uttarakhand witnessed a raging bushfire.
Forest fires have already been put out in some districts of Himachal, such as Solan and Mandi, in the last 48 hours.
The state forest department has already activated a satellite fire tracking system which is the most reliable technology in the country for tactical response to wildfire incidents in real time.
“Given the drought in the area, we started monitoring bushfire-prone sites from April 1, at least 15 days in advance. Now, we have accurate data on the most vulnerable areas. There is a rapid response team of terrestrial forest staff, and the DFO,” she said. , a maintenance guard, and even a PCCF.
Dr. Savita also held a review meeting with all forestry departments to assess the preparedness of the department.
“The Rapid Forest Firefighting Force, Rapid Response Teams, and nearly 40,000 work days of fire monitors are on full readiness along with frontline staff to prevent and combat wildfires. The State Disaster Control Room has a toll-free number of 1077 at statewide and 1070 at statewide. District level is fully operational for wildfire reporting by the local community,” she said.
Reportedly, 88 fires have broken out over the past week. These incidents occurred in Mandi (especially Sarkat), Solan, Surmore and Shimla provinces.
In at least two incidents – one in Sarghat on Sunday and the other in Solan, a major loss of forests was averted due to the collective and collective efforts of forest officials and villagers.
A forest fire was recently reported in Gunga, near Shimla. Several people in Shimla have posted videos of the fire which can be seen from the hill station which is 35 km from Gonga.
Dr. Savita said a proposal had already been sent to Additional Principal Secretary (Revenue), which is also the state level disaster management authority, to penalize funds and approve the SoP to order helicopter services to put out fires in all future emergencies.
Special vehicles, water tanks, fire tenders, and other forms of vehicles have already been provided for the rapid mobility of personnel in fire-prone forest areas. Kangra, Hamirpur, Solan, Mandi and Sirmaur will remain closely watched.
According to data available with the Forestry Department, the period between 2015 and 2017 saw the maximum incidence of wildfires in the state that consumed thousands of hectares of forest cover.
There were 1,542 fires reported in 2016-2017 alone, and 13,061 hectares of forest cover were burned, apart from losses to private property, habitat and domestic animals.
This year, sporadic fires have been reported in March in areas such as Kullu and Shimla.
Federal Home Minister Amit Shah said in a post on Twitter that he had spoken to Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Tirath Singh Rawat and offered him help in controlling the bush fires with the help of the NDRF.
So far, five people and seven animals are reported to have died due to the raging bushfires in Uttarakhand.
In February-March this year, forest fires were reported in Odisha in Semilipal National Park.