The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct its first-ever mock exercise on forest fire in Uttarakhand April 20, 2017. The mock exercise will be part of a three-day event.
- To help improve the preparedness and response mechanism in the event of a forest fire.
- The mock exercise will be conducted on the principle of Incident Response System (IRS), which identifies stakeholders and clearly attributes roles and responsibilities to each one of them.
- It will enhance preparedness and ensure a swift response by reducing confusion and chaos.
- It will help in filling gaps, ensuring better communication and improving coordination among various stakeholder agencies.
- Also generate awareness among the local population about the Do’s and Don’ts to be followed to prevent and respond to a forest fire.
- Senior officials from all the important departments such as the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), forest, health, police, firefighting, Civil Defense, transport, electricity, public relations, etc. will participate in the exercise.
Forest fire and Vulnerability
- The total forest cover of the country as per State of Forest Report 2003 is 678,333 km², which constitutes 20.64 percent of the geographic area of the country
- Along with various factors, forest fires are a major cause of degradation of Indian forests.
- According to a Forest Survey of India Report, about 50 percent of forest areas in the country are fire prone ranging from 50 percent in some states to 90 percent in the others.
- About 6 percent of the forests are prone to severe fire damage.
- The available forest fire statistics are not reliable because they under estimate fire numbers and area burned.
- The reason behind this is attributed to the fear of accountability.
- Forest Survey of India in a country-wide study in 1995 estimated that about 1.45 million hectares of forest are affected by fire annually.
Need for such Management/excercise
- Loss of timber, loss of bio-diversity, loss of wildlife habitat, global warming, soil erosion, loss of fuelwood and fodder, damage to water and other natural resources, loss of natural regeneration.
- Estimated average tangible annual loss due to forest fires in country is Rs.440 crore (US$ 100 millions approximately)
- Health problems leading to diseases
- Loss of livelihood for tribal people and the rural poor, as approximately 300 million people are directly dependent upon collection of non-timber forest products from forest areas for their livelihood.
GS III : Disaster and disaster management