FSI (Forest Survey of India), headquartered at Dehradun in Uttarakhand, is a key national survey of India that work for conservation and sustainable management of land and forest resources. In a recent series of forest fire alerts sent out by FSI, it had mentioned that the situation of Uttarakhand, as far as fire alerts are concerned is better this year as compared to the last year. Nationally also, the incidents of forest fires have dropped by 38% this year.

As per information shared by IFS Association Uttarakhand, last year, same time, Uttarakhand reported a loss of almost 1600 ha of forests. This year Uttarakhand, till now, has lost 71 ha of the forest to fires.  So far, Uttarakhand has got only 15 fire alerts. On the contrary, according to a report published by HT in 2019, the state reported the highest number of fire alerts, 2181. There were over 64 large fires active in the state last year.

(Source: IFS Association Uttarakhand)

The possible reason for receiving fewer fire alerts for Uttarakhand this year could be increased rainfall. Last year, Uttarakhand had received 40% less rainfall probably causing more fire alerts in the state. “Due to intermittent rains and good moisture on the forest floor, wildlife fires are lesser this year. But with rising mercury, more forest fires are likey in the coming days”, said Subhash Ashutosh, Director General, FSI to Times of India.

Earlier, on Wednesday, social media played its part in exaggerating the problem of forest fires in the mountains. #PrayforUttarakhand trended on twitter. Not only this, but people also started sharing fake images of Uttarakhand forest fires on social media. Dr. P.M. Dhakate, Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand Forest Department shared the real-time alert points of forest fires and requested people to ‘remain cautious and not to spread fake news’. The map showed only 11 alert points in the state.

(Source: Dr. P.M. Dhakate/Twitter)

With IMD issuing heatwave warning for central India, the situation can be critical for states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and other states.

(By: Rishabh Shrivastava & Dushyant Shekhar)

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