One-fifth of country’s forests prone to fires: study.

North-eastern and central India are the most vulnerable regions, says FSI.

About 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable, the 2019 report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) has said.

The finding has emerged from a study carried out by the FSI along forest fire points identified across the country from 2004 to 2017.

The forest fire points (FFP) identified during the 13 years add up to 2,77,758. They were analysed using a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) by overlaying the points coverage over the grid coverage of 5 km x 5 km.


The analysis showed that extremely fire prone areas account for 3.89% of total forest cover, very highly fire prone areas account for 6.01% and highly fire prone areas for 11.50%. Together, the three categories come to 21.40 % of forest cover.

The total number of alerts issued for each state based on MODIS data from November 2018 to June 2019 were 29,547 and interestingly, Mizoram, a small State, recorded the highest number of fire alerts (2,795). The seven States of the north-eastern region accounted for 10,210 fire alerts, which make up about one-third of alerts in the country.

Lalit Kumar Sharma, a scientist with the Zoological Survey of India, said that one of the major reasons for forest fires in the north-east is slash-and-burn cultivation, commonly called jhoom or jhum cultivation. “My experience is that most forest fires in Mizoram are because of jhum cultivation. The fires happen between the months of January and March. The north-east has tropical evergreen forests and, unlike the dry deciduous forests of central India, these are not likely to catch fire easily,” Mr. Sharma said. (Source: The Hindu)

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