9 April 2022.
A study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) has found that in the past two decades the intensity and frequency of forest fires, as well as an increase in the number of months in which forest fires occur, have increased.
- The study is titled ‘Managing Forest Fires in a Changing Climate.’
- This study found that in the past two decades there has been a ten-fold increase in forest fires.
- The study has also found that over 62 percent of the states in India are vulnerable to high-intensity forest fires.
- Significant forest fires, in the last month, have been reported in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan.
- The recent Sariska Tiger Reserve forest fire in Rajasthan was also reported to be unseasonal, with high temperatures causing the fire to spread.
Most vulnerable states in India
- The CEEW study has found that the states of Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and the north-eastern states barring Sikkim are most vulnerable to high-intensity forest fires due to rapid climate change. In 2019, a Forest Survey of India report stated that in India 36 percent of the forest cover falls in forest fire-prone zones.
What percent of Indian districts are extreme climate event hotspots?
According to this study of the CEEW, over 75 percent of the districts in India are hotspots for extreme climate events, and over 30 percent of districts are hotspots for extreme forest fires.
In the last two decades, which Indian state had the highest number of forest fire incidences?
In the last two decades, Mizoram has had the highest number of forest fire incidences. Over 95 percent of the districts of the state are forest fire hotspots.
About Flood-prone districts
This study also reported that the earlier flood-prone districts of India have now become drought-prone. This is due to a climate change-related swapping trend.
Recommendation of this report
The report has recommended that forest fires should be treated as “natural disasters” and must be included under the National Disaster Management Authority so that they can be properly managed.