Written by Aniruddh Pradhan, a grade 7 student in Ahmedabad.
Forest Fires are naturally caused by lightning or by spontaneous combustion of dry fuel, leaves, and sawdust. Human activity can also lead to forest fires. Some such activities include campfire mishaps, fires set by honey, and sal seed collectors to scare away wild animals and burning of the forest floor to improve grass growth.
Forest fires have affected Uttarkhand adversely in the past. However, in the last 6 months, there’s been an improvement. From 3000 cases in 2018 to 1000 in 2019, it has come down to only 46 in 2020 until now. There was recently a forest fire in Uttarkhand, which was quite severe, but not half as bad as those in the past. The cause for this forest fire was high temperature and dry winds.
Forest fires threaten a variety of birds species & wildlife in Uttarakhand. Some of the animals in danger are Indian Elephants, tigers, wild cats, etc. Although Uttarkhand faces forest fires very often, only a few of them have been severe. The last time they got severely hit was in 2016, where both Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh lost 10,000 acres of land. This year, however, there was fake news spread about the Uttarkhand fires. Not that the forest fires didn’t happen but they weren’t as severe as they were shown to be. People took photos from forest fires that had happened in Uttarkhand in the past and some random photos of forest fires from other places and posted them on social media, misrepresenting the situation.
Thankfully, the government is helping Uttarkhand get through this tough time. 6000 people have already been deployed to provide aid. Moreover, the Indian government has helped by donating 5 crore rupees to the state.