What is a Wildfire?
● Forest fire is defined as any uncontrolled and non-prescribed combustion or burning of plants in a natural setting such as a forest, grassland, brush brushland.
Causes of Forest Fire
● Natural Cause
➢ Extreme climatic conditions – High wind speed and direction, temperature, low level of moisture in soil and atmosphere, and duration of dry spells. This condition is aggravated by the influence of El Nino and La Nina.
➢ Lightning – Striking of lightning triggers wildfire in dried bushlands.
● Human Cause
➢ Economic Prospect – For the expansion of settlements and agriculture/ plantation humans intentionally generate forest fire.For Amazon fire by plantations.
➢ Accidental Fire -Logging activity-related fires, campfires in forests for recreation, E.g. through discarded cigarette butts.
➢ Practice of Shifting Cultivation – In India it is practised in Northeast India in the name of Jhumming.
Positive Aspects of Wildfire
● A healthy fire is key to ensuring that forests remain robust and resilient. It also aids the natural replenishment of nutrients in the soil, helps sunlight reach the forest floors, and encourages the germination of seeds.
Relation Between Forest Fire and Climate Change
● In the present day climate change is a determining factor for the intensity of forest fires.
● Besides the destruction of lives and livelihoods, these catastrophic wildfires also release an immense amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which will further aggravate the situation of climate change.
● Climate change aids wildfires, which, in turn, release the carbon stored in trees as CO2 and methane, evolving into a vicious cycle.
● Health Impacts Caused by Forest Fire
➢ These immense fires contribute adversely to air pollution, leading to long-term and short-term respiratory issues, heart disease, and lung cancer.
● Economic Impact
➢ Wildfires can disrupt transportation, communications, power and gas services, and water supply. Also, causes loss of property and drags people to shelter homes.
➢ Wildfires destroy not only flora (trees, herbs, grassland, forbes, etc.) by forcing animals to migrate and the death of minor ones.
➢ Degradation of soil quality.
● National Action Plan on Forest Fires:
➢ It focuses on the holistic management of forest fire scenarios in the country including fire prevention, fire control, post-fire activities, community mobilisation, etc.
● Large Forest Fires Monitoring Programme:
➢ This program is a part of the FAST 3.0.
➢ FAST – Near Real-Time Forest Fire Alerts
➢ Herein, FSI tracks large fire events across the country and disseminates specific Large Fire alerts to identify, track, and report serious forest fire incidents so as to help monitor them and also seek timely additional assistance.
● Forest Fire Pre Warning Alerts:
➢ Developed by FSI in 2016.
➢ The alerts are based on parameters like Forest Cover, Forest Type, Climatic Variables (Temperature and Rainfall), and recent fire incidents over the area.
➢ These alerts which are generated based on short-term weather
variables, are valid for the ensuing week.