National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) holds One-day Consultative Workshop on Forest Fire Management in India

New Delhi :The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) organised a one-day Consultative workshop for ‘Forest Fire Management in India’ yesterday in New Delhi in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.

The Workshop largely focused on Strengthening of Forest Fire Management in the 26 most forest fire affected districts of India spread over 11 States. It also focused on preventing future forest fire outbreaks and ensuing effective and swift response towards this disaster. Keeping these in mind, various officers of MHA, NDMA, IAF, NDRF, FSI, ICFRE, IGNFA and MoEF & CC and Forest Departments of 11 states conducted sessions related to forest fire training, fire alerts and early warning, meteorological drivers of forest fire forecasting, issues and challenges of forest fire management, Global best practices on forest fire management, capacity and training constraints.

In his Inaugural address the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri.Nityanand Rai, stated that “The fire-fighting action plans must be prepared for each forest range, considering the climate, type of vegetation, availability of water etc. Local communities should be trained as first responders to forest fires. The challenge before us is to strive towards higher levels of preparedness, mitigation efforts and strengthening our response mechanisms to deal with the effects of forest fires. “He further added that , Disaster Management is of great concern to the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi , since he had clearly defined a ten point agenda in his Inaugural speech at Asian Ministerial Conference in 2016, that stresses on disaster risk reduction, local community involvement, using social media for disaster risk reduction, pointing out the role of women in managing disasters as well as reviewing and learning from past experiences through analysis and deliberations.” in responding to forest fire etc.

The Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, in his Keynote address said, “We should follow prevention and control of forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivising them to work with State Forest departments. Capacity building, by creating effective forest fire detection and alert system, digitizing location of critical resources, equipping fire fighters, training field staff and forest fire risk zonation and mapping are all extremely crucial in handling disasters.” He also mentioned that, “ that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi is extremely sensitive about the state of Disaster Management in the country, and that there is a need for conducting mock drills in forest prone States and districts, involving concerned stakeholders and he appealed to all State Monitoring committees to ensure that Standard Operating Procedures may be developed and disseminated.”

In an attempt to chart a roadmap for generating awareness towards forest fires, various technical sessions on awareness to various problems and solutions related to forest fire management were held as a part of the one day workshop. This included active discussions and deliberations with Divisional Forest Officers of 26 most forest fire affected districts in the country with respect to forest fires. Delegates from various forest fire prone States discussed needs and challenges of forest fire in their particular zones/districts.

Detailed discussions on forest fire incident scenarios and issues and challenges outlined by speakers under different categories of prevention, preparedness, early warning and response will help in framing recommendations and compiling a list of intended actions both at the National level and by Forest Departments of respective States. The proposed “National Forest Fire Management Project” was discussed and solutions were sought through deliberations and knowledge sharing and this workshop set various critical components of this future project. This Project will bring in effective and efficient multi-department response to forest fire management.

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