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A forest fire is an uncontrolled fire occurring in nature. Sometimes, the forest fire is so large
that it takes a long time for the fire fighting crews to gain control over the situation. This
could result in massive destruction.
The destructive nature of a wildfire in a forest is phenomenal. A forest is an entire ecosystem
consisting of biotic factors like animals, insects, birds, bacteria, plants and trees. It also
consists of abiotic factors like water, rocks and climate in that forest area. If a wildfire
strikes such an ecosystem, all life forms will be lost. The air and water will be heavily
polluted. The soils will be badly degraded and other abiotic elements will be affected
including water catchment areas.
In 2016, forest fires have been noted in numerous places across the Indian state of
Uttarakhand. These fires, set mainly in pine forests in the slopes of the sub-Himalayan
region, produced clouds of smoke. Widespread comments in the Indian news media led to the
government taking action, deploying the National Disaster Response Force and making use of
Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopters fitted with "Bambi buckets" to douse the fires with water.
The forest department estimated that 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of forest had been burnt.
Nearly 1,600 incidences of fires were detected which were brought under control by 2 May.
The rains on 3 May helped in reducing the impact of fires.
While allegations are being levelled against the timber smugglers and they are being accused of setting
the forests on fire, there are some natural reasons for the forest to catch fire. Dry weather, very high
temperatures, and windy conditions are certainly fanning the fire and helping it to spread. The
government has decided to study the reasons behind major fires, especially in summer, and prepare an
action plan accordingly.
With the 11-member Air Force team joining the fire-fighting operations in Uttarakhand’s Bhimtal and
Pauri, it is time to have a look at the facts surrounding this tragic incident.
 Over the last 88 days, the raging fires destroyed nearly 3,000 acres of forest cover and claimed seven
lives.
 In 2016, fire has been detected at more than 1,200 places. Almora, Chamoli, Nainital, Pauri,
Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Tehri and Uttarkashi have been declared the worst affected areas.
 In the last three months of forest fire, 922 incidents have occurred with 1890.79 hectares of green
cover getting blighted.
 The forest fires in Uttarakhand have severely affected the wildlife reserves across the state. Going
by the statistics, 70 hectares in Rajaji Tiger Reserve and 60 hectares in Kedarnath Musk Deer
Sanctuary had come under fire.
 The Corbett Tiger Reserve and Kalagarh Tiger Reserve, which are home to famous Royal Bengal
tigers – has already witnessed 48 incidents of forest fire that destroyed 260.9 hectares of the forest.
 Taking such a severity into consideration, the concerned Environment Minister has begun trial runs
for a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings via SMS about possible fire outbreaks in the
country. The idea is to inform the forest department even before the fire starts spreading.
 The Uttarakhand governor has increased the number of personnel deployed to control the fire to
6000. He has asked the SDRF, locals and district administration to do their bit.
 The Central Government has earmarked Rs. 5 crore for the fire-fighting operations. Both the Prime
Minister’s Office and the Home Ministry are closely monitoring the situation.
 Forest Fire take away homes, wildlife, as well as vegetation. All of the inhabitants of the
wildlife environment now are found homeless. People often lose their houses as well if
the fires are close enough to human housing. Vegetation is now obsolete if this area is
near a farm or near the food of other inhabitants. Millions of dollars are spent repairing
these damages and re-building homes and areas of vegetation.
 The soil in the area of the Forest Fire has been completely destroyed. The soils in the
forest are made with decaying nutrients and debris that have a lot of natural
ingredients that help make the earth what it is. When a forest fire hits this soil it
becomes too hot and all of those nutrients are gone for good.
 Animals lose their lives. It is sad but true fact that birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other
wildlife animals are no longer a part of this great earth.
 Trees and plants are gone as well. Trees and plants help to produce oxygen in the world.
The less trees and plants there are the less clean air we have to breathe. With no plants
or trees, the animals that did survive no longer have anything to eat.
 Too much water in the soil can cause erosion. Firefighters use a great deal of water to put
out these vicious forest fire. Too much water in the soil causes it to erode and make it
useless.
 Large amounts of smoke is released into the air which makes it difficult to breathe and
also causes air pollution.
 Unfortunately, some human lives are also lost in Forest Fire. Typically people who are
fighting the fire who lose their lives trying to save others.
 Ash and smoke can cause serious health problems to humans who suffer from allergies
and other medical problems. This same smoke and ash has the ability to permanently
damage the lungs and the throat.
 Incomes and jobs are lost for workers in the agricultural field whose field crops
and animals were destroyed by the Forest Fire. When people are out of work the
economy suffers which makes it difficult to recover.
 Insurance premiums soar sky high after a Forest Fire because now everyone is
looking to obtain some kind of insurance to prevent such devastating losses.
People are unable to afford these premiums even when they need them the most.
 There will be restricted recreational areas that will not be able to be accessed until
the area is clear of debris and is determined to be safe to inhabit or visit.
 The loss of animals has the ability to also create extinction for certain animals and
other creatures of the forest.
 Make sure you are following all of the local regulations and laws regarding burning
fires during various times of day, year, and what materials and substances are
permitted to be burned. If you do not see a sign with the rules find a park ranger or
someone close by and keep a list of the rules and regulations on hand.
 Keep up to date with the weather forecast so you are sure not to burn any substances
while there are high winds or other treacherous conditions. Certain areas are more
prone to wildfires than others so make sure that you check with the area to see if they
are more at risk than other areas. The Wildland Fire Assessment System will give you
an updated map on which areas are more at risk. Weather is one of the biggest reasons
why wildfires occur. Always keep in mind the weather before you ever even plan your
trip.
 Only light fires in areas that are easily controlled locations. Make sure when you are
creating fire pits or other fires that you are doing so in areas that are controlled and
fires cannot spread into other areas. A fire will need to be contained so that it will be
easy to put out especially if a dangerous situation would arise.
 Do not burn any materials that are combustible or unusual in nature. Do not throw
garbage onto campfires or any other materials that should not be burned. You should
only be using materials that are organic such as leaves, woods, or yard waste. If you
put unusual materials into a fire it is only going to make the fire spread at a rapid rate
which causes more problems for the area you are in.
 If you are a cigarette smoker it is important not to smoke cigarettes where you are not
supposed to. If you do smoke you need to make sure that you put your cigarette out
completely before disposing of it. Under no circumstances should you throw cigarettes
onto the ground. Make sure they are completely put out and dispose of them properly.
Most camping and picnic areas do not allow smoking so if you are going to smoke you
need to know the rules beforehand.
 Teach your children the rules and safety precautions of camping and being outdoors.
Make sure they know to stay away from fires and to always allow an adult to start and
put out fires. Many wildfires are caused by unattended children near fires. Teaching
them the ways of nature could make all of the difference.
Forest Fire in Uttarakhand, India

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Forest Fire in Uttarakhand, India

  • 1.
  • 2. A forest fire is an uncontrolled fire occurring in nature. Sometimes, the forest fire is so large that it takes a long time for the fire fighting crews to gain control over the situation. This could result in massive destruction. The destructive nature of a wildfire in a forest is phenomenal. A forest is an entire ecosystem consisting of biotic factors like animals, insects, birds, bacteria, plants and trees. It also consists of abiotic factors like water, rocks and climate in that forest area. If a wildfire strikes such an ecosystem, all life forms will be lost. The air and water will be heavily polluted. The soils will be badly degraded and other abiotic elements will be affected including water catchment areas.
  • 3. In 2016, forest fires have been noted in numerous places across the Indian state of Uttarakhand. These fires, set mainly in pine forests in the slopes of the sub-Himalayan region, produced clouds of smoke. Widespread comments in the Indian news media led to the government taking action, deploying the National Disaster Response Force and making use of Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopters fitted with "Bambi buckets" to douse the fires with water. The forest department estimated that 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of forest had been burnt. Nearly 1,600 incidences of fires were detected which were brought under control by 2 May. The rains on 3 May helped in reducing the impact of fires.
  • 4.
  • 5. While allegations are being levelled against the timber smugglers and they are being accused of setting the forests on fire, there are some natural reasons for the forest to catch fire. Dry weather, very high temperatures, and windy conditions are certainly fanning the fire and helping it to spread. The government has decided to study the reasons behind major fires, especially in summer, and prepare an action plan accordingly. With the 11-member Air Force team joining the fire-fighting operations in Uttarakhand’s Bhimtal and Pauri, it is time to have a look at the facts surrounding this tragic incident.  Over the last 88 days, the raging fires destroyed nearly 3,000 acres of forest cover and claimed seven lives.  In 2016, fire has been detected at more than 1,200 places. Almora, Chamoli, Nainital, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Tehri and Uttarkashi have been declared the worst affected areas.  In the last three months of forest fire, 922 incidents have occurred with 1890.79 hectares of green cover getting blighted.
  • 6.  The forest fires in Uttarakhand have severely affected the wildlife reserves across the state. Going by the statistics, 70 hectares in Rajaji Tiger Reserve and 60 hectares in Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary had come under fire.  The Corbett Tiger Reserve and Kalagarh Tiger Reserve, which are home to famous Royal Bengal tigers – has already witnessed 48 incidents of forest fire that destroyed 260.9 hectares of the forest.  Taking such a severity into consideration, the concerned Environment Minister has begun trial runs for a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings via SMS about possible fire outbreaks in the country. The idea is to inform the forest department even before the fire starts spreading.  The Uttarakhand governor has increased the number of personnel deployed to control the fire to 6000. He has asked the SDRF, locals and district administration to do their bit.  The Central Government has earmarked Rs. 5 crore for the fire-fighting operations. Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Home Ministry are closely monitoring the situation.
  • 7.  Forest Fire take away homes, wildlife, as well as vegetation. All of the inhabitants of the wildlife environment now are found homeless. People often lose their houses as well if the fires are close enough to human housing. Vegetation is now obsolete if this area is near a farm or near the food of other inhabitants. Millions of dollars are spent repairing these damages and re-building homes and areas of vegetation.  The soil in the area of the Forest Fire has been completely destroyed. The soils in the forest are made with decaying nutrients and debris that have a lot of natural ingredients that help make the earth what it is. When a forest fire hits this soil it becomes too hot and all of those nutrients are gone for good.  Animals lose their lives. It is sad but true fact that birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other wildlife animals are no longer a part of this great earth.
  • 8.  Trees and plants are gone as well. Trees and plants help to produce oxygen in the world. The less trees and plants there are the less clean air we have to breathe. With no plants or trees, the animals that did survive no longer have anything to eat.  Too much water in the soil can cause erosion. Firefighters use a great deal of water to put out these vicious forest fire. Too much water in the soil causes it to erode and make it useless.  Large amounts of smoke is released into the air which makes it difficult to breathe and also causes air pollution.  Unfortunately, some human lives are also lost in Forest Fire. Typically people who are fighting the fire who lose their lives trying to save others.  Ash and smoke can cause serious health problems to humans who suffer from allergies and other medical problems. This same smoke and ash has the ability to permanently damage the lungs and the throat.
  • 9.  Incomes and jobs are lost for workers in the agricultural field whose field crops and animals were destroyed by the Forest Fire. When people are out of work the economy suffers which makes it difficult to recover.  Insurance premiums soar sky high after a Forest Fire because now everyone is looking to obtain some kind of insurance to prevent such devastating losses. People are unable to afford these premiums even when they need them the most.  There will be restricted recreational areas that will not be able to be accessed until the area is clear of debris and is determined to be safe to inhabit or visit.  The loss of animals has the ability to also create extinction for certain animals and other creatures of the forest.
  • 10.  Make sure you are following all of the local regulations and laws regarding burning fires during various times of day, year, and what materials and substances are permitted to be burned. If you do not see a sign with the rules find a park ranger or someone close by and keep a list of the rules and regulations on hand.  Keep up to date with the weather forecast so you are sure not to burn any substances while there are high winds or other treacherous conditions. Certain areas are more prone to wildfires than others so make sure that you check with the area to see if they are more at risk than other areas. The Wildland Fire Assessment System will give you an updated map on which areas are more at risk. Weather is one of the biggest reasons why wildfires occur. Always keep in mind the weather before you ever even plan your trip.  Only light fires in areas that are easily controlled locations. Make sure when you are creating fire pits or other fires that you are doing so in areas that are controlled and fires cannot spread into other areas. A fire will need to be contained so that it will be easy to put out especially if a dangerous situation would arise.
  • 11.  Do not burn any materials that are combustible or unusual in nature. Do not throw garbage onto campfires or any other materials that should not be burned. You should only be using materials that are organic such as leaves, woods, or yard waste. If you put unusual materials into a fire it is only going to make the fire spread at a rapid rate which causes more problems for the area you are in.  If you are a cigarette smoker it is important not to smoke cigarettes where you are not supposed to. If you do smoke you need to make sure that you put your cigarette out completely before disposing of it. Under no circumstances should you throw cigarettes onto the ground. Make sure they are completely put out and dispose of them properly. Most camping and picnic areas do not allow smoking so if you are going to smoke you need to know the rules beforehand.  Teach your children the rules and safety precautions of camping and being outdoors. Make sure they know to stay away from fires and to always allow an adult to start and put out fires. Many wildfires are caused by unattended children near fires. Teaching them the ways of nature could make all of the difference.