According to Odisha’s forest minister, over 0.173 million forest fires were reported in the state in half a decade
Odisha lost over 67,000 hectares of forest cover due to wildfires between 2018 and March 17, 2023. During the period, over 0.173 million forest fires were reported in Odisha, according to the state’s forest, environment and climate change minister Pradeep Kumar Amat. In 2018, as many as 9,730 hectares (ha) of forest cover were damaged in 31,680 fires, while 7,164 ha of forest cover were lost in 19,787 wildfires. In 2020, 11,088 forest fires had destroyed 6,070 ha of forest land in the state, the minister said in the assembly. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
In 2021, the highest number of forest fire incidents — 57,339 cases — had been reported in the state. These incidents destroyed 28,653 ha of forest. In 2022, 8,450 ha of the forest had been destroyed in 29,199 wildfire incidents, Amat said. Some 7,070 ha of forest cover were damaged in the ongoing fire season through March 17, 2023. Meanwhile, the forest fire incidents in the state have drastically reduced due to the widespread unseasonal rains. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
In 2022-23 the government carried out afforestation work in a 9,032-ha area while reviving tree cover in another 76,081-ha area under different government schemes. Roadside plantation was also carried out in a 4,007 km stretch, while around 195 crore saplings were distributed among the public to improve the green cover, he said. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
Some 7,070 ha of forest cover were damaged in the ongoing fire season through March 17, 2023. Around 269 forest fire incidents were reported in the state in the last seven days since March 15 — the second highest in the country after Karnataka (338), according to a report by the Forest Survey of India. An awareness rally to prevent forest fires is seen in the picture. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
The minister said the government had taken adequate measures to prevent forest fires and increase green cover in the state. The state has engaged fire fighting squads, provided fire blowers and created a fire line of 32,662 km in forests this year. In Similipal Tiger Reserve, a fire line of more than 6,400 km has been created, while 93 locals have been engaged to assist in dousing flames in 2023. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.