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Karnataka number 1 in forest fires, Maharashtra is second

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New Delhi, Jan 27: The raging forest fire that destroyed hundreds of acres of forest has posed many challenges to both the state governments and Forest Department to save forest and the wildlife. Winds, dried up waterholes and virtually nothing left for more than thousand animals have made the forest more vulnerable during summer.

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A final report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI) has ranked Karnataka state as No. 1 in the number of forest fire cases in the year 2018. The report has left central officials worried as the forest fire season has just started.

With 77 forest fires in the Karnataka tops the list, then follows Maharashtra with 34 cases. Then in line are Arunachal Pradesh 27 cases, Nagaland 24 cases and Andhra Pradesh 14 cases. However, Karnataka is not in the top-five list of highest number of forest alerts in 2018. Here it ranks third. Punjab and Maharashtra are the top two states.

As per the state records, so far, over 4,000 alerts have come. Of these, 70-75% are outside the forests. Last year, there was no fire at Bandipur tiger reserve. This year, the highest number of forest fires was at Charmadi Ghat, where 100 acres were gutted, says a Deccan Herald report.

In 2017, Karnataka reported 1,333 forest fires, a whopping 350% increase compared to 295 in 2015 and a 60% increase compared to 2016, when it was 831. This means Karnataka reported at least three forest fires every day, which experts say is quite high. Compared to the overall situation in India, the number seems insignificant: There were 35,888 forest fires in India in 2017, at the rate of 98 every day.

Real-time alert

The Forest Survey of India will send fire alerts to the state forest department at regular intervals to escalate the dousing process in case of forest fires. The state has rec-eived the highest number of alerts for forest fires during the past year.

This is the first time that any state will receive real time alerts for fire incidents in forests. The initiative was started earlier this week, following which, the state forest department set up control room where it can monitor the alerts sent by the FSI.

With the compartment boundaries given in the map, it will also help determine whether the fire incidents are occurring inside or outside the forest boundaries.

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