Forest fires have distinct regional patterns, with 20 districts (not the same ones) account for 47% of fire distribution. The presentation also pointed out that forest fires are caused by a combination of natural and social factors. The report discusses policies on forest fire prevention and management and underscores the need to put more emphasis on better fire prevention practices and a well-equipped and trained workforce to fight fires. The report adds that there is an urgent need to fill vacancies for field staff, particularly in fire-prone areas, and to make adequate and reliable funding available, the report adds. The report has been prepared jointly by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and World Bank.
Some of the recommendations include – developing a National Forest Fire Prevention Management Plan as an open, consultative and a time-bound process, institute standard management practices, adapt technology to local conditions, as well as scale up the best practices and increase engagement with local communities to ensure that big fire is used in a responsible way and at the same time, give communities a greater say in decision-making process.
The Report suggests that the National FFPM Action Plan should delineate the roles and responsibilities of the MoEFCC, state forest departments, communities and disaster agencies. Lastly, there is a need to support forest fire management through improved data, and research to fill critical knowledge gaps. A national forest fire information database, bringing together satellite-based remote sensing data, and field-reported data, will be instrumental for assessing longer-term trends across states and regions and for planning fire prevention and response. In addition, defining a national research agenda for fire management and provision of funding opportunities for scientific research would help to establish formal cooperation between members of the research community and the forest department.