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Youngsters on alert to save forest fires - Dhalbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Ranchi officers get cracking with preventive measures

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By JAYESH THAKER
  • Published 1.04.10
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Jamshedpur, March 31: Fire prevention measures have gained momentum in the forest divisions of Dhalbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan and Ranchi, with authorities adopting various measures to avert any major mishaps.

Apart from removing roadsides bushes, fire lines have also been drawn to break the continuity of forests. Moreover, village samitis have also been formed to keep an eye on fires in forests, a common occurrence in summer.

While the Dhalbhum forest is spread over 890sqkm, Seraikela-Kharsawan tretches to 540sqkm. Dalma, under Ranchi forest division, is spread over 190sqkm.

Foresters have hired over 100 fire watchers as a contingency measure. Fire watchers are village youths whose job is to provide quick fire alerts.

A.T. Mishra, the divisional forest officer of Dhalbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, told The Telegraph that they were more concerned about the burning of dry mahua leaves by villagers, which is one of the main reasons for fires in forests.

“We have also launched an awareness campaign and asked villagers not to burn mahua leaves,” he said.

According to Mishra, villagers burn leaves scattered under mahua trees so that they can clear the area and comfortably collect the fruits.

But villagers, the district forest officer said, often leave the fire burning, which sometimes spread and take on alarming proportions.

Besides, villagers who venture into jungles to collect wood also throw burning bidis and cigarettes, which trigger fires.

With reports of fires already trickling in from the forest divisions of Dhalbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, foresters are on high-alert to prevent any major blaze. “We have received reports of blaze at two to three places. But we are alert and ready to meet any eventuality. We are also keeping an eye on sensitive jungle areas,” Mishra said.

The Ranchi division has also set the ball rolling towards fire control measures. Last year’s incident of a major fire breaking out in the Dalma forest is still fresh in the minds of authorities.

“We have adopted various measures to prevent any fire-related incidents. We have to be on our toes from February-end to the onset of monsoon. Chances of any fire-related incidents is much higher in these months,” an official said.