The dictionary defines the wildfires, or forest fires, as the unbound growing embers or free spreading combustion that consumes the natural fuels. It is ironical how many forest ecosystems seem to have begun and evolved in response to the forest fires. But today, millions of hectares of forest area is subsumed in the fire – a huge loss of life, environmental damage and economic breakdowns. Forest fires have become untameable in nature today because of its increased intensity and frequency.
The disadvantageous aspect of forest fires, its harmful side-effects directly impinge on the biodiversity of the place, the growing stock of forests; it might as well lead to soil erosion – thereby resulting in the reduction of the soil’s permeable feature and water retention capacity.
The adage holds true even today that ‘Fire is a good servant but a bad master’. The Himalayan wildfires resulted into a quantifiable timber loss worth around crores of rupees. What is hampered yet again is the microclimate of the region, because the heavy smoke changes the climatic balance of the place as well. There are different types of forest fires, ranging from surface fires to underground fires, ground fires, crown fires to firestorms.
According to FAO report “Fire Management- Global Assessment 2006”, regional estimates of human induced forest fires as follows: a. editerranean- 95% b. South Asia 90% c. South America 85% d. North America 80% e. Balkan countries 59% The natural causes of forest fires are common in remote areas only.
“The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.”
Forest fires affect our health, lead to global warming and there is only loss that comes handy with it. It is time we ensure that the fire management activities are based upon good scientific studies. We have to carefully plan and treat our environment very sensitively in order to achieve our aim of concerning the diversity of flora and fauna.
“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a minor reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”