24×7 control room set up for managing forest fires

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change informed that a 24×7 control room for real-time monitoring of fire has been set up to contain 48 forest fire spots in Goa. Further, it has set up an inquiry order to ascertain reasons for fire at each location. Since March 5, 2023, sporadic fires have been reported and detected in various areas of Goa including forests, private areas, communidade lands, plantations, revenue lands, etc.

Forest Fires

With the arrival of summer and rising temperatures, forest fires become frequent. However, the Forest Department Goa in close co-ordination with the District Collector (North), the District Collector (South), SP (North), SP (South) and other line departments like Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services, has been addressing the local occurrences of fires on topmost priority and mobilising men and material to ensure that the fire spots are contained and loss to life and property, including natural resources is kept at nought/bare minimum.

Further, all concerned officials have been placed on high alert, and the situation is being reviewed closely. The Department is also taking necessary measures from time to time to address the forest fire situation, including –

i) Setting up 24×7 Control room for Real-time Monitoring of fire: A 24×7 Control Room has been established for real-time monitoring of the alerts generated by FSI. Exact geo-coordinates and maps of fire locations are shared to the field functionaries on real-time basis to immediately attend to the fires.
ii) Further, the impacted forest areas have been divided into sectors and duties have been assigned to DCF and ACF level officers to immediately attend to the fires, for intensive management of forest fires in close coordination with line departments. More than 750 people are on the field to attend to the fire incidences on war-footing.

iii) The Forest Department has also banned unauthorised entries, and ensured strict enforcement of forest and wildlife laws to prevent entry. Further, teams are co-ordinating with line departments to contain the fires.
iv) India has shown its seriousness in managing and mitigating disasters. In line with this, Collectors have been requested to activate Disaster Management Machinery for prevention and control of fire.
v) To generate awareness on forest fires amongst the public at large, preventive and control measures in the form of Dos and Don’ts are being disseminated.
In addition to these measures, forest fire prevention measures have been intensified. As a precautionary measure to check reoccurrence of fires, all the sites where fire has been doused are being monitored regularly to control it immediately. Additionally, aerial support from Indian Air Force and Indian Navy for forest fire management is also being sought. Drones are also being used for assessment of the extent of active fire areas.

Situation of forest fires in Goa
As per the reports received from the field, since March 05 and till 1000 hours of March 10, 48 fire-spots have been detected and attended to by the field executives in close co-ordination with line departments and local public, including PRIs.

As on March 10 till 10 am, 7 fires were reported to be active. More than 500 number of staff and others, including manpower from other Departments, Fire and Emergency services and PRIs are deployed and 41 number of fires have already been doused.

Usually, in hot dry days, forest fires can be a result of long dry-spell, human carelessness, unattended fires, and more. In case of the forest fires reported in Goa, no major losses to floral and faunal diversity has been reported as yet.

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