PANAJI: Forest department has filed 34 FIRs, mostly against unknown persons, in connection with various wildfires reported across State.
The FIRs are registered under the Indian Forest Act 1927, The wildlife Protection Act 1972, the Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act 1984 and relevant provisions of the IPC.
The report suggests that a conducive environment and extreme weather conditions — deficient rainfall in the preceding season, unusually high temperatures, low moisture and humidity — led to the fires.
According to the inquiry report, 74 fire incidents 32 of which affected three wildlife sanctuaries were reported in the first fortnight of March. A total of 418 hectares of private land, reserve forests, comunidade land, and protected areas were affected, including more than 320 hectares of forest land.
The Forest Department has already initiated assessment to undertake tree plantation in these affected areas to restore Flora and Fauna.
Apart from wildlife areas, the fire also led to destruction of some private forest and trees on communidade land.
“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.
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
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.
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.