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Odisha forest department launches app to fight forest fires

Press Trust of India  |  Rourkela 

The forest department has recently launched an app to track and fight forest fires during the coming summer, forest officials said.

In addition, a group called 'Forest Fire Alert' has also been created for sharing alerts and information regarding tracking, preventing and fighting such fires between forest officials and locals who form squads to help the forest officials, they said.

"We have been successful in reducing the incidences of forest fire to half at this moment," (DFO) of Sundergarh said.

The new app was launched on March 3 this year, he said.

The Forest Survey of (FSI) keeps a close watch and whenever there is a fire, their officials inform the officials of the state forest department, Mishra said.

Forest officials are then sent to the spot, he explained.

"On reaching the spot, a will have to take a photo of the spot and upload it in the group, and also in the app as soon as possible," Mishra said.

The photo will automatically go to the state principal conservator of forests as well as to all department officials in the group, Mishra said.

As a result, nobody in the department can claim to be on the spot without being actually present there.

"Apart from technology, the traditional methods to fight forest fire are also being used," DFO Rourkela Sanjay Swain said.

In the traditional methods, forest squads - comprising forest department staff and local people draw fire lines by digging the earth to control the spread of fire.

Blowers are also used to keep dry leaves away from a fire and controlled burning is also carried out.

In Rourkela Forest Division, over 500 kilometre of fire line has been drawn to control forest fire.

"We have over 216 squads in six ranges of Sundergarh division," Mishra said.

Similarly, the Rourkela division has over 180 squads.

At Bonai division, similar squads are functioning to take care of forest fires.

Both Swain and Mishra agreed that despite so much efforts and awareness drives, miscreants, carelessness and age old practises are causing forest fires.

Notably, trekkers were caught in a forest fire in the Western Ghat's ranges in and 10 people - seven women and three men - who were part of a 36-member trekking team, were killed in the incident on Saturday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 20:45 IST
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