At a time when the wildfires raging in the Similipal biosphere in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha continued to be of concern to wildlife activists, large tracts of forest were found affected by fire in other parts of the l ‘State.
Of the 886 large fires detected in different forests in India on Friday, Odisha tops the rankings with 233 forest fires. Tenangana and Madhya Pradesh followed Odisha with 126 and 107 forest fire incidences.
Meanwhile, the state government has kept additional firefighters on standby to put out the fire in Similipal. Wildlife activists have sounded the alarm over the spread of forest fires in Similipal. “The situation in Similipal is under the full control of the administration. It never got out of hand. As every year, fire points have emerged this year. There is nothing unusual about this. We attend fire points as soon as we are informed, ”said Sashi Paul, senior chief forest conservator (wildlife) on Friday.
The worst affected areas in Similipal were Podadiha and Thakurmunda, he said, adding that the central areas of Similipal which are home to tigers were not affected.
The Forestry and Environment Department, however, expressed concerns that many fire points were not immediately serviced.
“Although the Forest Survey of India reported very high fires during these months, they did not receive an immediate response or follow-up, which is concerning. We can see that about 60% of the fire points reported only got a response, ”said Lingaraj Ota, special secretary of the forestry department, in a letter to all forestry officers in the division.
It is imperative that all fire points on the ground are treated as a priority and that forest fires are extinguished immediately before they spread to adjacent forest areas, ”Ota said.
Directing DFOs to submit a report on the number of fire points visited daily, the Special Secretary of the Forestry Department stressed that range officers should ensure that certificates on a daily basis to DFO.
DFO was asked to make every effort to prevent forest fires through effective foot patrols, monitoring and outreach to members of Van Surakshya Samiti and residents of the forest fringes.