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Even as forest fire rages, U'khand officials go on study tour

By IndianMandarins- 14 May 2019


Three senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officials of Uttarakhand— a Chief Conservator of Forest, a Conservator of Forest and a Divisional Forest Officer— left for United Kingdom and Poland for two weeks even as about 900 hectares of forest are burning due to forest fire that has spread in almost all the hill districts of the state.


These officials are said to have gone on a 'study tour' following approval by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) Jairaj. The government's approval order says that the officials will participate in a joint program with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Zoological Society of London to study tiger footprint in the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary. While officials are on a study tour, Jairaj has advised forest dwellers and farmers to "take care" of the forests.


According to forest department records, a total of 711 fire incidents were reported till Monday noon, destroying 984 hectares of forest. The area comprised oak, pine and other varieties of trees. The forest department has an analysis of losses up to Rs 16 lakh due to the blaze caused by a rise in temperature.


On Monday noon, the fire extended till the Corbett Tiger Reserve raising an alarm bell as the area houses rich biodiversity and several animal species, including Bengal tigers. As the officials left for the tour, the fire further spread to interiors of Chamoli districts in Garhwal region. However, in Nainital, a short spell of rain brought some relief and doused the fire in some 80 hectares of land.


Every year thousands of hectares of lush green forests in Uttarakhand are affected by the blaze. Recently, an RTI reply from the department revealed that more than 44,000 hectares of forest worth over Rs 15 million had been gutted in fire incidents ever since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.

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