Due to a sudden rise in temperatures, the forests in the areas of Surguja and Dhamtari of Chhattisgarh have caught fire that’s spreading at the blink of an eye. While such wildfires are common in the region in this weather, the Forest Department officials are finding it hard to control the spreading fire as the Forest Department workers have been protesting.
While a fire had broken out in the forests of Gatta Silli Karahiya Marg of the Birgudi Range on Tuesday, another fire broke out in the Koregaon forest range on Wednesday. These forests have been burning for several days now, churning out a lot of harmful smoke and causing irreversible damage to these forest ranges.
However, the forest department officials are trying to pacify the situation by arguing that such wildfires are common during this time of the year, and they would have controlled the fires faster, if not for the worker’s strike in this season. Notably, the workers of the forest department have been on a strike demanding the acceptance of a 12-point demand raised by them.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Surguja, Pankaj Kamal said, "We're facing difficulties to douse the forest fires as Van Karmchari Sangh is on strike over several demands. If needed we'll take the help of police personnel and home guards to douse the flames."
A fire broke out in the Keregaon forest range of Dhamtari. Seeing the flames, some passersby informed the police. Forest department officials were informed, after which the fire was extinguished using the available force. Mayank Pandey, DFO of Dhamtari said that such fires are common in this season, mainly in the forest. Our employees are on alert. The fire was brought under control with the help of security guards. 300-350 are deployed for surveillance in the forests of the district. Modern equipment such as fire blowers have also been provided to the employees to extinguish the fire.
Another major fire was reported in the forests of RF296PF adjoining Kusumaksa and Chipra villages under Dallirajhara forest range of Balod district. Due to the dry leaves, the fire spread so fast in the forest that it could not be controlled till late night. In a single day, there have been several incidents of wildfire in more than half a dozen places. It is being said that continuous efforts are being made by the team to extinguish the fire in the forest of Chipra. Balod DFO claimed to have brought the fire under control at all places. Notably, locals also say that to pick Mahua, some locals sometimes also set fire to the leaves under the tree which takes a formidable form.
"These forest fires generally occur in this season. Our staff always remains alert. We would have doused it a little quicker but the staff is on strike. Over 300 workers helped douse the fire. It took us a little more time than usual but now the situation is under control" said Mayank Pandey, District Forest Officer.