The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in association with the Disaster Mitigation and Management Authority (DMMC), the forest department and the government is all set to conduct mock drills in all 13 districts Uttarakhand on April 20.
It would be first ever such attempt in the state where earlier mock drills for earthquake and floods have been done in the past.
Over 4,500 hectare of land was gutted in forest fire in 2016. During then, forest fire was declared a natural calamity and National Disaster Response Force was roped in to combat the fires. As many as 303 hectare of land has been damaged so far ever since the fire season began on February 15.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had already cautioned the state that coming days would be tough in terms of forest fire due to an increase in temperature and humidity.
Under the aegis of NDMC expert Maj Gen VK Datta (retd.), video conferencing with district magistrates and divisional forest officers was done on Tuesday. The DMMC gave a presentation on the guidelines and protocols and officers shared their inputs.
“The mock drill will be first-of-its kind as it engages experts of NDRF and STDRF. During today’s conference, we thoroughly discussed the responsibilities, actions, preparedness and other details,” JR Joshi, Commandant State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) told Hindustan Times.
The forest department gave inputs about how fire alerts that are received through various channels, including Forest Survey of India, Bhuwan portal of government and NASA. These alerts are further spread through texts and wireless handsets to officers and crew. The department also informed the status of master crew stations and other centres where fire watchers remain at alert.
The officers haven’t finalised the mock drill points that will be decided on the morning of April 20. “There are issues with some districts like the chief minister is visiting Pithoragarh the same day and the Garhwal Commissioner is holding a meeting. The DMMC is looking after all these issues. The mock drill will be done in all districts but the actual points will be decided the same day,” Mounish Mullick, chief conservator of forest (CCF), said.