The onset of summer brings enough damage in all the four districts of the state. The consecutive dry weather and gushes of whirlwinds has affected many houses and caused fire outbreaks in the forest areas.
On March 15, Sikkim with a temperature recorded 11.74° Celsius (min) and 22.94° Celsius (max) and fluctuating relative humidity from 8.45 to 78.18 and 3.93 recorded the highest number of forest fires till date.
A total of hundred and nine hectares approximately in 17 different areas across the state caught forest fire due to the successive dry spells (East 25, West 27, and North below 10 and South 47).
In East district at Rangpo Sitey Reserve Forest (R.F) 1hectare, Syari 2hectares, Rongli Range (Chalisey Area) 6 hectares, Dikiling R.F 10hectares and Pagla Bhir 5 hectares. In West district at Zoom 10hectares, Tashiding Bhir 5hectares, Aspataley Bhir 5hectares and Naya Bazaar R.F 2hectares. Whereas in north district Namprikdang + 1 hectare, Mangan+ 1 hectare and Phodong 2 to 3hectares. South district recorded the highest fire outbreaks with 1.5hectares at Jholungey R.F, Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sokpey 20hectares, Jorethang Salghari R.f 5hectares, Melli Tribeni R.F 10hectares and Kattyang 10hectares.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) cum Secretary, Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department Mr. S.T Lachungpa during an interaction with media informed that most of these fire outbreaks have occurred in the Reserve Forests which are mostly inaccessible areas. Though most of the signs of these fire points out to the yesterday’s fluctuation of humidity and friction caused by wind velocity but there can be other reasons too, such as road side burning, burning of waste materials by the people, cigarette butts and miscreant acts, informs Mr. Lachungpa.
Since constructions of roads are being carried out all over the state hence the roadside burning can also be one of the major threats, Mr. Lachungpa added. If similar weather condition prolongs then there are chances of more fire outbreaks. Explaining about the types of forest fires Mr. Lachungpa said that the fire spate at Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary poses the greatest threat as the fire is caused due to friction of the tree branches which is also termed as crown fire. Such fires are difficult to extinguish and is dangerous as it creates much havoc. Fire caused due to burning of organic matters is dangerous for the soil and is called deep fire. Deep fires burn down the trees from the root as the soil catches fire and the only alternate way is re- plantation.
In order to avoid such incidents the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department in all the four districts have put on high alert after these incidents, no D.F.Os are allowed to take leaves, day and night camps are set up at highly vulnerable areas, an automatic weather station has been set up at the Forest secretariat, Gangtok and secret forest fire informers have been deployed to notify miscreant acts. Mr. Lachungpa further appealed the public to co operate during such instances and also to inform the concerned department if any person is found setting the forest fire intentionally. The informant’s name will be withheld and he, she shall be rewarded, concluded Mr. Lachungpa. Any person who comes across such wrongdoers can contact or respectively.
Courtesy: Sikkim Mail
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