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The forest department has resorted to controlled burning in selected areas

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Trichy: The forest department has resorted to controlled burning in selected areas in the forest to prevent forest fire. It is wildfire set intentionally by the forest department yet on a small-scale before the beginning of the summer season. Such measures have been effective in checking large forest fire.

Wildfires are common as the summer approaches putting the wildlife and green cover in the reserve forest under potential risk. On Monday, a major fire broke out in different areas simultaneously deep inside the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris resulting in huge loss of green cover. To remain prepared for such eventualities, ground level forest staff were trained by fire and rescue service personnel on Wednesday on the preventive steps to be taken during forest fire. Forest staffs were trained on checking the extent of damage while keeping themselves safe during such eventualities.

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While Trichy forest region is not prone to forest fire, there have been incidents of forest fire in a few pockets frequently over the recent years. Forest areas near Cholamathi in Thuraiyur region caught fire in the last week of January. However, the fire was brought into control soon, said a forest official. “Reserve forests in Omanthur, Pulivalam areas of Thuraiyur range are prone to fire every year. We have been carrying controlled burning in these places,” said forest range officer D Sujatha. Besides, we have also roped in local people under the joint forest management scheme to make them aware of the implications of forest fire.

Speaking on the preparedness, she said staff up to forest guard level are registered with the forest survey of India (FSI) for receiving fire alerts through SMS. “In most cases of forest fire in Trichy, the fire was spread to forest areas from adjoining agriculture land. Farmers use to set their land on fire after harvest. We have been sensitising them on refraining from such activities,” she said. Initiatives to rope in farmers and local people are underway to compensate the shortage of staff by sensitizing them on the implications of forest fire, she added.

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