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Five-fold rise in forest fires in Odisha this year

The prolonged dry spell coupled with a sudden rise in temperature in February triggered unprecedented forest fires in Odisha as well as other Central and Eastern states.

Published: 09th August 2021 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2021 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha has surpassed Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra where 47,795 and 34,025 forest fires were reported respectively this season. 

Odisha has surpassed Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra where 47,795 and 34,025 forest fires were reported respectively this season. (Representational image | AP)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  With a five-fold rise in incidents, Odisha has recorded the highest number of wildfires in the country this year. As per statistics of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the State recorded the highest number of forest fires this season between November 2020 and June 2021. 

As many as 51,966 incidents of wildfire were reported in the State this season compared to 10,602 between November 2019 and June 2020. The number of such cases was 19,159 in the corresponding season of 2018-19 fiscal. Odisha has surpassed Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra where 47,795 and 34,025 forest fires were reported respectively this season. 

ALSO READ: Fire erupts in Similipal again

As per officials of the State’s Forest department, the prolonged dry spell coupled with a sudden rise in temperature in February triggered unprecedented forest fires in Odisha as well as other Central and Eastern states. While at least 26 districts reported incidents of large forest fires, Similipal Tiger Reserve grabbed headlines after 428 fire points were detected in the park between January 1 and March 4. The hot weather condition and shedding of leaves in Sal forests increased the vulnerability of forest fire in the tiger reserve. 

On March 8, the State government formed a nine-member task-force headed by former PCCF and HoFF Sandeep Tripathi to study and recommend measures to tackle the menace. Environmentalist Jaya Krushna Panigrahi, a task force member, said the recommendations are being drafted and likely to be finalised within a month. 

Meanwhile, Minister of State in MoEFCC Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Parliament on July 30 that the Centre has also constituted a national level committee under the chairmanship of Secretary of the Ministry to oversee issues arising out of forest fire. 



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