Mrunal Manmay Dash

With the advent of Summer, the forests of Odisha have already started to see fires at many places.

As per reports, fires have been witnessed in 92 places across the jungles of Odisha till now. Fires are reported from at least 1000 points. However, approximately 96 percent of the fires have been doused.

Out of all the fires, 40 percent are found in crops and the stubble, informed the Forest department.

Speaking about the forest fires, Odisha Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Debidutta Biswal said, “Jungle fires will increase as the summer heat increases. We have witnessed fires at nearly 1000 points till now. Out of that nearly 40 percent fires sparked outside the jungle. But we are responding to all kinds of fires. Sometimes fires outside the jungle engulf the forest as well.”

Asked about the awareness drive, Biswal said, “We are adopting traditional method to create awareness among the locals who stay near the jungle and depend on it for livelihood. Awareness is being created through pala, daskathia and ghoda nacha (Horse Dance). We have also distributed leaflets and set up sign boards for the people to get aware about jungle fire and not to create it.”

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A sudden jump in the incidents of fires across Odisha resulted in a massive loss of flora and fauna in the state’s forests. Forest fires result in the loss of timber, fruit-bearing trees and medicinal plants. They also pose a threat to the wildlife and their habitat.

Regeneration of the forests is affected by the wildfires too. The seeds which are supposed to germinate in the monsoon rain get burnt due to ground fires in the forest areas, affecting the forest growth.