Kashmir Indepth

J&K reports 1500 forest fires in 5-yrs

Arjumand Shah

Srinagar Oct 28 (KINS): Jammu and Kashmir has reported over 1500 forest fires for the last 5-years.

According to official data over 1500 forest fires have been reported for the last 5-years in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Each day a forest fire gets reported in Jammu and Kashmir which has become a cause of concern,” a senior official told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

The forests in Kashmir region mostly fall in dry temperate class. These forests are predominantly having conifers comprising Deodar, Kail and Fir. These forests are not normally vulnerable to forest fires as they are predominately having evergreen species and lush green ground cover.

An official document says the natural causes of forest fires are reported to be less than 5% of the total number of fires caused in a year while 95 percent are manmade that could be prevented by preventive measures by the government and the people alike.

“The natural causes normally start forest fires by lightning. These fires are normally rare. Even in the country the natural causes are reported to be less than five percent of the total number of fires caused in a year. The most common cause of forest fire is man-made which can be either because of carelessness or deliberate and intentional,” the document reads

A senior official of the Forest Department suggested the government should take some measures to prevent man made forest fires in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There needs to be connectivity by providing wireless sets / cell phones, mobility facilities (some pickup Vans) and proper gear for the staff to save themselves from any injury while extinguishing fires, first aid kits for emergencies and tools for carrying out the fire control operations,” the official said.

The official said that artificial boundaries are demarcated around forest land at several places in the Union Territory.

He said that the increase in forest fires happen due to non-demarcation of forest land in Jammu and Kashmir. “Had the forests been demarcated, less such incidents would have happened,” the official said.

The official said that thousands of kanals of forest land are still under encroachment and the government has failed to retrieve that from encroachers. (KINS)

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