Major causes of Forest fires:
- Forest fires can occur because of both natural and man-made causes.
- Man-made causes contribute to 99% of forest fires in India. They are:
- Attempts to encroach upon forest lands to convert them into agricultural land.
- Fire caused by poachers and timber smugglers to destroy evidence of illegal activities.
- Burning of waste in illegal dumps.
- Shifting cultivation practice by the locals.
- Tourist activities like camp-fire etc.
What needs to be done?
- Better monitoring of reserve forest areas.
- Keeping a close watch on fire-prone spots.
- Increase the current staff strength and train them according to the needs of the terrain.
Impact of Forest Fires:
- Loss of life.
- Changes to wildlife habitats.
- Fire changes the proportion, arrangement and characteristic of habitats across the landscape.
- Temporary loss of food and shelter causes displacement of territorial birds and mammals, upsetting the ecological balance.
Section : Environment & Ecology