There have been 200 forest fire incidents in the past three weeks.


New Delhi: There is an unprecedented threat to the forest cover of Jammu and Kashmir as the increasing temperatures along with dry weather conditions has caused about 200 forest fire incidents in the past three weeks. The calls to forest control rooms are coming everyday especially in the Jammu region, triggering alarm and scare among environmentalists.
The recent rise in temperatures during March and in the current month of April has triggered more than 200 forest fire incidents and the authorities have responded by establishing 250 control rooms for the prevention and control of these fires in the forests of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the environmental activists and forest officials, these forest fires are the result of increasing temperatures and dry weather conditions, but they claim that the government response is not prompt.
“The establishment of fire control rooms will not help unless the government gets the latest technology to fight these fires. The way forest fires are raging in the Jammu region, there would be a huge degradation of forests,” said an environmental activist from Jammu.
Responding to the urgency of the situation, Principal chief conservator of forests Mohit Gera said that it is the collective responsibility of society to preserve “green gold” and help the forest officials to control such fires. He said that fire control rooms established by his department will be successful only if the local people and the panchayats near the forests cooperate with the officials to control such forest fires. The forest officials have appealed to people who go with their livestock in the forests of Jammu and Kashmir not to burn the grass to make tea etc., as it can prove a trigger for forest fires. In the Jammu region, officials have said that in the past fortnight, there have been about 100 forest fire incidents and they are increasing due to rise in temperatures and dry weather conditions.
In some media reports, they have quoted NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) data accessed by them in which they have shown 160 forest fires in the past 15 days across Jammu and Kashmir. Although in the upper reaches of Kashmir snow is still melting, there have been a number of forest fire cases recorded from many forest areas, including Bandipora, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Uri and Khrew.
According to J&K forest officials; they were busy in fire fighting incidents in the forests of Jammu as the unprecedented rise in temperatures is the main cause of such fires.
Environmental watchers have appealed to the central government and L-G Manoj Sinha that it needs foreign experts and latest machines, including helicopters, to save forests in the Jammu region. They have expressed fears that the present speed of forest fires is a serious threat to the forest cover of Jammu region and in the coming days, it can prove disastrous for Kashmir valley also.