Officials gear up to tackle forest fires

They are common during summer season

As the mercury levels have started rising, officials of the Chittoor East (Wildlife) division are preparing to tackle forest fires, known to be common during summer season.

“In 2020, over 200 incidents of forest fires took place in Chittoor East Wildlife division, spread over 1.93 lakh hectares, ” the Divisional Forest Officer, G.G. Narentheran, said.

Awareness campaign

He said that a massive public awareness campaign had been launched in the division, to prevent forest fires. Over 100 participants took part in the poster competition with the theme ‘Forest fires, causes and prevention’, he said, adding that the posters would be displayed at the villages in coordination with the field staff of gram/ward secretariats.

Causes

Mr. Narentheran said that cattle herders, local villagers were largely responsible for the forest fires as they burn the old grass to facilitate new growth. He said 99.99 percent of forest fires was manmade, while sparks from the electric overhead lines also set fire to the forests. He said that the fires killed millions of pollinators, insects, mammals, birds, including peacocks and rose-ringed parakeet, in the district.

The DFO sought the public to cooperate with the forest officials by posting information on forest fires, along with photos and location, on Whatsapp number 9441632996. He said punishment for acts of setting fire under various sub-clauses of Section 20 of the A.P. Forest Act would invite imprisonment from six months to two years.

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