PANAJI: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate has disclosed the the recent forest fires in Goa had been mainly due to the conducive environment caused by dry spells, unprecedented high temperatures and low humidity.
“Recent forest fires in Goa had been mainly due to the conducive environment caused by dry spells, unprecedented high temperatures and low humidity,” said Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey
He further said that due to the recent forest fire incidences in the state an area of about 4.18 sq km is reported to be affected including 2.27 Sq Km area affected in three Wildlife sanctuaries Protection and management of forests in primarily the responsibility of concerned State/UT.
The ministry said that during the first fortnight of March 2023, a total of 74 sporadic fire incidences were reported all across Goa in private land.
“Reserve forests, Comunidades land, and Protected areas of the state, of which 32fire incidences were reported in three Wildlife sanctuaries in Goa,” he added
The report also said that though most of the forest fires were doused the same day, the fires reported in inaccessible, far flung hilly areas were controlled/ doused by ground team with the aerial support of IAF.
Choubey said that the Ministry supports the efforts of the States UTs in prevention and control of forest fire by providing financial assistance for various forest fire prevention and management measures such as modern tools for fire extinguishing, use of communication and information technology.
Further, he said that creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation works in high risk areas, awareness creation, incentivizing villages/communities for protection against forest fire etc.
“Under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme. Further, forest fire prevention and its management is primarily the responsibility of concerned State Governments /UT Administration,” he added
As per India State of Forest Report (ISFR)-2021, total Recorded Forest Ares for the State of Goa is 1271 square kilometer which is 34.33% of geographical area of the State. Further, as per ISFR-2021, the total Forest Cover of the State of Goa is 2,244 square kilometer which is 60.62% of geographical area of the State.
The various actions to remove encroachment are taken as per the provisions under various acts such as Indian Forest Act, 1927; Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, various rules made under these Acts and State Specific Acts and Rules.
The forest area under encroachment in Goa is NIL Two NDRF Battalions have been trained for combating forest fires.