Himachal Pradesh Is Burning: Himachal Pradesh often sees forest fires during arid climates. This is due to fire-loving trees like pine, cedar, oak, kale, fir, and spruce. The forest fire that started near Kullu erupted a few days before it was brought under control. Forest fires have also been reported in Shimla and other parts of the state.
Although two-thirds of the entire Himachal Pradesh is officially classified as a forest area, most of this part is permanently located beneath snow, glaciers, cold deserts, or mountain meadows and is above the line of trees. Forests are often vulnerable to wildfires during the rainy season and except in winter. Forest fires are an annual occurrence in the province and are always found in evergreen pine forests. During the summer, forest fires occur regularly in the lower and central hills of the province, where forests are common in evergreen pine.
The dry summer season from March to June is consistent with the dispersal of the burning needles of the rip pine tree. When a fallen dry needle catches fire, it quickly spreads throughout the forest as a result of the action of the wind. After storms and winters, forest fires are also reported in higher areas including Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, Kangra, and Mandi areas, where it is always found in grassy areas.
Fires can sometimes be caused by natural causes, such as lightning strikes or rubbing dry bamboo, but almost all forest fires can be caused by human factors. When the grass is dry, even a small spark, such as a burning matchstick, torch, or cigarette can cause a fire. When dry pine needles or leaves fall on an electric pole, it causes sparks. People, who always come to collect small quantities of produce from the forest, take their animals for grazing or other purposes, can provide temporary fire to cook food or heat themselves. When people burn their fields to remove stubble, l, dry grass or trees, fires sometimes spread to the forest.
Damage caused by forest fires causes serious damage to forest regeneration and production. Moisture-loving trees such as oaks and deodar can tolerate other weed species and exotic weeds. Forests help maintain a constant flow of rivers and streams and springs and provide local communities with timber, fodder, and wood-free products – all of which can have a serious impact in the event of a fire. Forest fires can destroy organisms in the soil and produce high erosion. They can also infect wildlife by burning eggs, killing small animals, and chasing older animals away from their habitat.
In some cases, forest fires can spiral out of control and spread to human settlements, endangering people’s lives and property. Forecasting firefighting days using weather forecasts to prevent forest fires, clearing dry tent areas, drying up debris from forest floors early, growing pieces of flammable plant species in the forest, and creating forest fires. The state government enacts forest fire laws that prohibit or regulate certain types of activities in and around the forest, such as lighting fires, burning agricultural logs or trees, and importing forest products such as dried leaves and firewood.
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