Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (MS)
Mangaluru, Mar 8: A raging forest fire destroyed Sakleshpur area a few weeks ago. However, it was observed, the forest guards do not have proper equipment to extinguish forest fires. Most of the times they use tender branches with leaves to put off the fire.
Karnataka has 38500 sq km of forest area. The dense forests of Western Ghats are prone to get forest fires. The task of extinguishing forest fires is a daunting one.
Equipment like kit, fire proof jacket, backpack, sprayers, blowers, fire beaters, helmet, goggles, eye washers boots, filter masks, gloves, five litre water cans are required for the forest guards involved in forest fire extinguishing work. However, they say that these are in short supply.
Last month, forest guard Sundaresh, who went to extinguish forest fire near Kadumane Estate of Sakleshpur died. Two other personnel were seriously injured.
Shortage of staff also is bothering the forest department in containing forest fires. More than 720 forest guard positions and 400 forest viewer positions are still vacant.
In Sola Forests like Western Ghats the forest fire spreads fast. Moreover, the path involves valleys, hills etc. So precious time is lost in reaching the area of fire. According to secretary of national environmentalists’ federation, Shashidhar Shetty, army helicopters are the best to put off forest fires faster.
Environmentalists are of the opinion that the forest department should make use of ultra-modern drones and survey Western Ghats from January to May once a week to study the cause of forest fires.