1273 hectare impacted annually
As many as 4578 incidents of forest fire have been reported in Jammu & Kashmir in the past one decade.
“In J&K, 4578 forest fire incidents have been reported during last ten years, and on an annual average, a total area of 1273 hectare has been impacted,” official documents in possession of news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) reveal.
However, the documents further reveal, that no major loss of forest property have been reported in J&K as most of the forest fires have been creeping and ground fires and have affected only the ground vegetation like shrubs, grasses or natural vegetation.
It is worthwhile to mention that as per India State of Forest Report, 2019, about 97 % of forest area in J&K falls in ‘’less fire prone’’ class only about 3 % falls in “moderately fire prone” class.
There is negligible/nil area under extremely fire prone, very highly fire prone and highly fire prone class in J&K, the report states.
The documents further state that J&K authorities propose to create/ maintain 171.27 kilometers fire line in vulnerable areas to control spread of forest fires, besides engagement of seasonal fire watchers.
“Fire control rooms are established to deal with the emergency situations,” the document states.
Number of Forest fire incidents in India in recent years
Every year, there are numerous cases of forest fire incidents recorded across India. The data contains forest fire incidents recorded up to June 2019. Hence the data for 2019 is incomplete.
Since 2015, the numbers show a stark increase in the number of such incidents. The cases have increased from 15,937 in 2015 to 37,059 in 2018 amounting to a shocking 133% increase. The 2019 figure is also expected to surpass the 2018 figure since we have the data only for 6 months.
Among the other years, the number of incidents in 2010 and 2012 were also remarkably high- 30,892 and 29,362 respectively. The Indian Meteorological Department reported in 2018 that 11 of the 15 warmest years recorded in India since 1901, were between 2004 and 2008.
The report further noted that 2018 marked the sixth warmest year with 2016, 2009, 2017, 2010 and 2010 being the top five hottest years in that order. The years 2009, 2012 and 2016 were recorded as drought years in India as per the Forest Survey of India.