New Delhi: Luckily, the Simlipal fires in Odisha were confined to the sal forest and didn’t spread to the meadows in the core area of the tiger reserve. This is why no wildlife was impacted in the fires that had grabbed headlines earlier this year.
Also, no person was killed or injured in the forest fires in Mayurbhanj district. There were no reports of loss to public property.
Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey told this to the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
According to the minister, an expert committee had visited Simlipal Tiger Reserve on March 11-14 to assess the damage. The committee reported that 334.35 hectares of land were affected due to the blazes.
However, the losses borne by Odisha due to the forest fires have not been assessed yet.
Onus On States
Choubey said the respective state forest departments manage forest areas. It’s therefore their responsibility to prevent and manage forest fires in a state.
On its part, the Central government provides financial assistance to the states to prevent and control such incidents. The funds are provided under the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme.
Odisha has the dubious ranking of the Indian state with the most number of forest fires during an eight-month period from November 2020 to June 2021. The state had reported 51,968 such incidents during this period.
Madhya Pradesh reported the second highest of 47,796 forest fires.