With the mercury rising sharply, Uttarakhand has started making efforts to tackle forest fires. An expanse of 85 hectares of forests in the state has already been affected due to forest fires with as many as 57 forest fire incidents recorded since February 15, the official date of start of the forest fire season in the state. Out of the 85 hectares, 32.20 hectares are part of reserve forests.
With around 65 per cent of its geographical area under forests, Uttarakhand every summer faces the challenge of forest fires.
Most of these forest fires are manmade. Both intentional and human carelessness contribute to these forest fires. Burning of crop residues or even bonfires by tourists in close proximity of forest areas result in forest fires. But another major factor is the presence of chir (pine) trees in large numbers in Uttarakhand forests. The pine needles that fall on the ground are like tinder boxes, which are mostly responsible for forest fires.