January 27, 2022 6:14:59 pm
The Karnataka Forest Department has placed a request for helicopters before the state government to use them to douse forest fires. The helicopters will be stationed in Mysuru.
Confirming the development to The Indian Express, a senior forest official said, “This is being pursued at the head office level and the helicopter unit will be placed at an airbase in Mysuru which will be used during emergencies. The helicopter will cater to the emergencies at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve and B R Tiger Reserve.”
In 2019, two helicopters of the Indian Air Force were deployed to douse a fire in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Kumar also apprised that for the last two years, remote sensing data have been used to prevent forest fires in Karnataka. “With the help of the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC) in Bengaluru the Department of Information and Communication Technology Centre has come up with a platform wherein satellite data can be used to send fire alerts if there is any incident in the forest. We are also sent alerts on fire-prone areas based on the high temperature and high wind velocity. With the help of this data, we can plan our fire-fighting squad deployment.”
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Nagarhole also has three drones to monitor fire incidents inside the forest.
“Stubble burning happens during this season. We fly drones during stubble burning and deploy our staff to monitor the situation. Once we fly the drones, we get to know the location of stubble burning and whether it can impact the forest areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the ongoing tiger census at Nagarhole tiger reserve, Kumar said no volunteers are being allowed to participate in the census due to the high number of Covid cases. He added even forest staffers were infected with Covid. “We cannot take chances in this situation. The survey will be over by February 1,” he stated.
He expects an increase in the number of tigers in the present survey. During the last survey, the reserve had counted 127 tigers.
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