Jammu: Jammu & Kashmir Forest Department today organised a one day Training Workshop on “Forest Fire Management” at Convention Centre, Canal Road here.
The workshop was inaugurated today by Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Ecology & Environment, Sanjeev Verma and was presided over by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), J&K, Dr. Mohit Gera.
The workshop has been organized with an aim to sensitise the PRIs, Urban Local Bodies, SDRF, Department of Fire & Emergency Services and frontline staff of Forest Protection Force and Forest Department on latest forest fire management aspects, preparedness in the upcoming summer season for prevention and control of the forest fire incidences.
Speaking on the occasion, Sanjeev Verma highlighted the role of District Development Councils, Block Development Councils, Panchayati Raj Institutions and Village Forest Committees for coordinated management in effective prevention and control of forest fires. He stressed on the need of identifying vulnerable forest fire areas for focused forest fire management and deployment of more frontline field personnel there for prompt response and control. He also emphasised on the need of institutionalising some reward mechanism for best performing Panchayats and frontline field personnel during prevention and control of forest fire operations.
The Commissioner Secretary suggested that the department should explore collection of pine needles from vulnerable forest areas which are prone to forest fires for the manufacture of Pine briquettes and stressed the need for imparting professional training to the frontline field personnel on forest fire prevention and control. He asked the department to conduct mock drills in vulnerable forest areas and establishment of forest fire control rooms in forest ranges and divisions prone to fires.
Speaking on the occasion, PCCF gave an overview of Forest Fire Management Challenges and steps taken by the Forest Department in prevention & minimizing the incidences of forest fires. He highlighted about the forest fire scenario in Jammu and Kashmir and outlined the forest fire susceptibility as well as the seasonal variations in incidences of forest fires here.
The PCCF also highlighted about the technology driven approach of the department during his address. He said that several initiatives like mapping of the forest fire prone areas, preparation of J&K forest fire manual, procurement of modern fire fighting tools and equipments and launching of Mobile App “Pahredaar” for efficient management of Forest fires have been launched by the department.
He also emphasized upon the integrated role of stakeholders from local community members, Panchayat Raj Institutions, Forest, Police, Fire and Emergency Services, State Disaster Response Force and Scientific community in dealing effectively with the forest fires.
DFO Jammu, Alok Maurya during the workshop presented the field level realities and responses and deliberated on the mechanism of forest fire prevention and control at Forest Division level.
BDC chairperson Dansal, Reena Thapa while speaking on the occasion highlighted the importance of close coordination between forest department and local community members in forest fire management and emphasised on the need of creation of more water harvesting structures to store water in the forest areas in order to decrease the severity of the forest fires. She also underlined the importance of engagement of seasonal fire watchers for prompt response in control of forest fires.
Representatives from the Jammu and Kashmir Fire and Emergency Services, State Disaster Response Force and Forest Protection Force deliberated on the cooperation provided by them in forest fire control and stressed for the need of coordinated efforts with the forest department in forest fire management and capacity building of all stakeholders.
During the technical session presentations regarding GIS based Forest Fire Prevention and Forest Fire Vulnerability Assessment using Geo Information Technology measures were delivered by B. Mohan Daas, Conservator of Forests, West Circle and Majid Farooq, Scientist, Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote sensing respectively while as DFO Nowshera, Suresh Manda delivered a presentation on “Forest Fire Management Strategies in Jammu Region”.
The State Disaster Response Force team and J&K Fire and Emergency Services personnel demonstrated mock drill on safety measures to be adopted during forest fire control operations.
The day long workshop was attended by Director, Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing Department/ Director, Social Forestry Department, Dr. Neelu Gera; Chief Wildlife Warden, Wildlife Protection Department, Suresh Gupta; Director, Jammu & Kashmir Forest Research Institute, Asaf Sagar, , Director, Forest Protection Force, Frankoi, Chief Conservator of Forests Jammu, K. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning & Projects), Dr. B. Balaji, Chief Conservator of Forests, East Circle Jammu, Samuel Changkija, frontline field personnel of Forest Department & Forest Protection Force, Representatives from Panchayati Raj Institutions, State Disaster Response Force and J&K Fire and Emergency Services.