Why so many frequent forest fires in HP?
Himachal Pradesh frequently witnesses forest fires during dry weather conditions.
Recently, a forest fire which started near Kullu raged for several days before being brought under control.
Forest in Himachal Pradesh
- Two-thirds of the total geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is legally classified as forest area.
- As per the Forest Survey of India, the effective forest cover is around 28 percent of the total area.
- Common trees are – Chir Pine, Deodar, Oak, Kail, Fir and Spruce.
Different times different forests catch fire
In the summer season,
- Forest fires occur frequently in the low and middle hills of the state, where forests of Chir Pine are common.
During the post-monsoon season and in winters,
- Forest fires are reported in higher areas, including parts of Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts, where they usually occur in grasslands.
Reasons for Fire
- Rubbing of dry bamboos with each other.
- Setting up of temporary hearth to cook food by the herdsman may leave behind a smouldering fire, it can develop into a forest fire.
- When people burn their fields to clear them of stubble, dry grass or undergrowth, the fire sometimes spreads to the adjoining forest.
- A spark can also be produced when dry pine needles or leaves fall on an electric pole.
- Forecasting fire-prone days using meteorological data,
- Clearing camping sites of dried biomass,
- Early burning of dry litter on the forest floor.
- Growing strips of fire-hardy plant species within the forest.
- Creating fire lines in the forests (fire lines are strips in the forest kept clear of vegetation to prevent the fire from spreading).
- Creating laws to restrict or regulate certain activities in and around forest areas.