IMPHAL, April 30 - Manipur was the second most affected State by forest fires in the country � next to Mizoram � as per the forest fire points detected by the Forest Survey of India during 2001-2016.
There were 17,907 forest fire points in Manipur, next to Mizoram (32,659 points) during 2004-05 (fire season) to 2017 (fire season). Assam had 20,862 points during the same period.
This was stated by State Forest Department officials during a daylong workshop on forest fire management held here today.
The officials said that even though Manipur is a small State, in terms of percentage of forest cover, it is under a highly fire-prone category as 4.48 per cent of the forest area is located under an extremely fire-prone zone.
As many as 58,000 fire points have been detected in the Manipur forests in the last 17 years (2002 to 2019). The southern forest division was the most affected division (27.8 per cent). March is the peak month in which 63 per cent of the fires occurred, followed by April (18 per cent). Shifting cultivation is a major factor of forest fire in the region.
�But we can minimise at least 50 to 60 per cent of the forest fires as most forest fires are caused by man-made factors in Manipur,� said Conservator of Forest (Central Circle) of the Forest Department, L Joykumar, while making a presentation on �Effects of forest fire and need for forest fire management� during the workshop.
Creation of firelines, control of burning, public awareness and education, besides active participation of the community, are the need of the hour, he stressed.
Stating that shifting cultivation is one of the factors of forest fires, Joykumar said burning of one tonne of wood releases 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
Sharing his thoughts on �Role of communities and civil societies for uncontrolled fire management�, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Dr Lokho Puni suggested preparing an environment protection policy to be implemented at the village levels.
He also suggested holding general body meetings of every village authority to chalk out strategies for the protection of forests and the environment under the village jurisdiction.
Earlier, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Kereilhouvi Angami, accompanied by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Officer on Special Duty) L Baite and other senior forest officials, inaugurated the workshop.