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Forest Department hosts Training Workshop on forest fires

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JAMMU: Forests of Jammu and Kashmir are vulnerable to annual Forest fires. To monitor and manage the forest fires, Forest Department of Jammu & Kashmir has initiated a slew of measures by involving J&K Fire Emergency Department, State Disaster Management Force for coordinated action at the field level.
To ensure coordination of deployment, mobilization of forces and judicious utilization of resources, J&K Forest Department conducted one day training workshop on prevention and control of Forest fires, and Coordination and Mock drill program for front line staff at Forest Information Centre, Bikram Chowk. I
The session was attended by around 60 Front-line staff of Territorial, Wildlife, Forest Protection Force and Social Forestry Departments besides 15 members of PRIs.
In the inaugural session of the workshop presentations were given on Forest Fire Scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, technological intervention being adopted for Forest Fire Monitoring based on Remote Sensing Data and field level preparedness.
The Technical session witnessed firsthand mock drill exercises on Forest Fire safety, Fire Fighting Techniques, rescue and evacuation during Fire Emergency and use of drones in Forest Fire Monitoring and damage assessment.
The training workshop was inaugurated by Dr Mohit Gera, PCCF (HoFF) J&K and attended by B.M Sharma, Additional PCCF Jammu, B Mohandaas, Conservator of Forests, East Circle, Jammu, Anup Soni, DFO Jammu, Sunil Singh, DFO Urban Forestry, Jammu, Shoba Rani, Sarpanch Aitham, Sham Kumar, Naib Sarpanch Aithum, Thoru Ram, Sarpanch Panchgrain, Rajinder Singh, Sarpanch Nadoore, Master Trainers of J&K Fire Emergency Department and State Disaster Management Force.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Mohit Gera emphasized that uncontrolled forest fires in Jammu & Kashmir not only cause resource degradation but also contributes to global warming and climate change. He informed that incidence of forest fires are increasing due to rising temperatures and dry conditions prevailing in UT of J&K and most of the fires are triggered by the human error.
“Hence, the forest department has established around 250 fire control rooms across UT of J&K and involved PRIs and local people in prevention and control of Forest fires,” he said. He also informed that prevention of forest fires requires constant physical monitoring on field as well as using remote sensing technology and it requires constant support at grassroots level like village panchayats, Joint Forest Management Committees and Biodiversity Management Committees. Integration of the role of Fire emergency services and SDRF in Forest fire management is pivotal to successful forest fire control operations. He also informed on the recent initiatives of the forest department in sustainable utilization of Chir Pine needles in making of handicrafts by women SHGs which is helping prevention of fires and creation of livelihood.
The APPCF Jammu stated that the workshop aims to impart fundamental and technical aspect of Forest Fire Management to Front line staff of Territorial, Wildlife Protection, Forest Protection Force and Social Forestry Department and also involve representatives of PRIs in order to achieve coordinated outcomes during fire emergencies.
The Fire & Emergency Department and SDRF has been involved in the mock drill session to ensure cross sectoral coordination at the field level.
During the inaugural session, the basic aspect of Van Agni Portal, Forest Fire Alert System 3.0 of Forest Survey of India and feedback mechanism to Forest Fires alert received through SMS and mail was explained to participants by Rushal Garg, DFO Photo Interpretation Division. The procedures to be followed to identify, track and report large Forest Fire alerts of FSI under FAST 3.0 was explained in detail to the participants. The Forest Fire Vulnerability scenario in Jammu Kashmir and mapping of vulnerable areas based on remote sensing date and historical Forest fire outbreaks was briefed to the participants by Majid Farooq, Scientist, Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing, J&K.
Copies of Prevention and Control of Forest Fires in Jammu and Kashmir 2021 manual were also distributed to PRI representatives and sister wings. Soft copies of the manual were also circulated to mail IDs of participants during the event.
In the technical session, mock drills were conducted in the area of use of Forest Fire Equipment developed by Forest Research University Dehradun, Standard Operating Procedures to be followed during Fire Emergency, First Aid, Rescue and Evacuation Operations by the Fire & Emergency Department and SDRF.
During the mock drill, special demonstration on the SOPs to be followed during operation of Drone for Forest Fire Monitoring and Damage Assessment was also provided.

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