Odisha reports 542 forest fires in last 7 days, highest in India: FSI survey
The rise in forest fires over last fortnight saw Odisha with 735 large forest fires, the highest among all the states since November 1, 2022
Forest fires continued to remain unabated in Odisha after the state recorded 542 such cases in the last seven days making it the highest among all states in the country.
With no rains since October and rising temperatures, Odisha’s rising cases of forest fires have raised concerns over its impacts on wildlife and ground vegetation.
According to the Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) fire alerts system based on SNPP (Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership), the large forest fires were reported from Similipal Tiger Reserve in mayurbhanj district, Champua forests in Keonjhar district, Baliguda in Kandhamal district, Chandaka in Khurda district, Tumudibandh in Kandhamal district, Sunabeda in Nuapada district, Narayanpatna in Koraput district, Mohana in Gajapati district, Jharigaon in Nabarangpur district, Ghumsar in Ganjam and Soro in Balasore district.
The rise in forest fires over last fortnight saw Odisha with 735 large forest fires, the highest among all the states since November 1, 2022.
On Tuesday, 936 fires were detected of which 142 were large forest fires.
In Similipal reserve that saw a major fire in March 2021, officials alleged that forests were deliberately being set on fire as revenge by poachers to aid their hunting activities.
Forest officials said the detection of more than 1,000 active fire points in the first week of March was unusually high.
“If it doesn’t rain anytime soon, we may have more infernos. We are praying for rain as things can get worse from here on. It has been a long dry spell with no rain since October,” said principal chief conservator of forests Debidutta Biswal.
Biswal said nearly 3,000 personnel of the department have been engaged to control the fire.
“As many as 16,000 Vana Surakshya Samitis and 280 special squads have been engaged to deal with forest inferno in the state. The members of women self-help groups have been roped in to create awareness and check the fires which are mostly man-made,” he added.
Last year, Bhupender Yadav, union minister for environment, forest and climate change told Lok Sabha that the state reported 51,968 forest fires between November 2020 and June 2021 — the highest in India.
The country reported 3,45,989 forest fires during the same period.