Ecologists, both policy makers and the common population

Ecologists, social scientists, economists and
politicians should join hands for developing a policy that recognizes both the
beneficial and long-established roles of fire, while reducing the incidence and
degree of uncontrolled burning. A better understanding by both policy makers
and the common population of the ecological, environmental, socio-cultural,
land use and public health issues nearby vegetation fires is necessary. The
potential for better international and local collaboration in sharing
information and resources to encourage more effective fire management also needs
to be explored. The wildfires are due to population growth, land use and land
use changes, economic greed and climate variability.

It
is also necessary to think seriously the possible use of fire as a management
tool achieving the goals of forest management. An awareness of the negative
effects of forest fire on forest ecosystems and human population has been
propagated in many countries. In one sense, this is a very good plan as it sensitizes
people to the danger of forest fire, and how they can play a role in the
prevention of fire. The propagation of information by media about forest fire can
have a important influence on the people’s perception about forest fire.

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In
case of India, an under-staffed,
under-equipped, and under-motivated Forest staff cannot do more than put in a
token effort in mountainous terrain. Fight fire by working together (The Van
Panchayats, Mahila Mangal Dals, SHGs (Self Help Groups) and Yuvak Mangal Dals),
prescribed burning, fire lines, awareness programs can help achieve the goal of
minimizing the forest fires. Efforts for finding alternative uses for pine
needles should be supported by the Government to reduce the accumulation of
combustible material. In addition to it, there must be punitive measures
including penalties, arrest and punishment to those who indulge in starting
fire is the need of the hour. Because forest department is understaffed, school
and colleges (NSS and NCC cadets) can also be roped into fight fire. Colleges
have NSS units which may be trained in forest fire fighting techniques and used
at times of need. To combat it in the
long term, we need large scale soil and water conservation initiatives which
will replenish the ground water and improve the moisture regime in the forests.