Rise in forest fires sparks formation of new team
With the arrival of summers, the hill and forest ecosystems of the city and its outskirts are threatened by forest fires. In total, more than 327 forest fires have occurred in areas under the Pune Division over the past year – in the past three months alone, some 133 incidents have been reported. Several forest fires have destroyed approximately 340 hectares of forest cover in the division.
To deal with this series of incidents, the Pune Forestry Division for the first time formed a 23-member wildfire team to prevent and control fires. Deputy Chief Minister
In February of this year alone, more than 100 incidents were reported. The most vulnerable parts include Katraj Hill,
Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) of Pune,
He added: “With this team, we also plan daily night patrols where our dedicated teams will patrol areas prone to forest fires and try to ensure, among other things, that errors due to various human activities do not lead to forest fires, especially on the hills. Most fires are intentional. Only 10 percent could be natural fires. People believe that if the grass is burnt, the new grass is of better quality. The forestry department conducts awareness programs in forest areas to educate people about the effects of forest fires.