Prelims level : National Conservation & Mitigation Mains level : GS-III Disaster and Disaster Management.
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Why in News?

  • Recently, the Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has provided information about forest fires management and prevention during a reply in Budget Session 2020.

Key Points:

  • In 2019, the area covering 93,273 hectares was affected by forest fires. It includes ‘ground fire’, i.e. burning of ground vegetation.
  • While forestsare managed by states concerned, the MoEFCC provides forest fire prevention and management measures under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management scheme.
  • Forests are a subject in the concurrent list of the Seventh Scheduleof the Indian Constitution.

National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAFF):

  • The MoEFCC has prepared a NAFF in 2018, after consultation with all states and Union Territories.
  • The objective of this planis to minimise forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivising them to work in tandem with the State Forest Departments
  • It also intends to substantially reduce the vulnerability of forests across diverse forest ecosystems in the country against fire hazards.
  • It aims to enhance capabilities of forest personnel and institutions in Fighting Fires and swift recovery subsequent to Fire Incidents.

Forest Fire Prevention and Management (FFPM) Scheme:

  • It is specifically dedicated to assist the states in dealing with Forest Fires.
  • It replaced the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme (IFMS)in 2017. It has increased the amount dedicated for forest fire work.
  • It allocates funds with 90:10to the Northeast and Western Himalayan regions and a 60:40 ratios for all other states.
  • It provides the states to have the flexibility to direct a portion of the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) and Mission for Green India (GIM)funding toward forest fire work.

Prevention of Forest Fires can be done Through:

  • Effective communication strategy for Awareness Generation:The strategy would identify most effective means for reaching out to different target groups like school campaigns, campaigns on Radio, TV, and social media, mobile campaigns during festival season, organization of music festivals, and setting up information portals, among others.
  • Empowering Communities to deliver on their Responsibilities:Under the Forest Rights Act the forest areas recognized under community rights are mandated to be sustainably used by the right holding forest dweller community which places on them the responsibility of conservation of these areas.
  • Capacity building of communities:The capacity of community organizations in prevention and control of forest fires should be enhanced by periodical training and capacity building programmes.
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