Recurrent forest fires back in Meghalaya

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, March 26: It is that time of the year when Meghalaya bears the brunt of a spate of forest fires; this year, too, it is no different.
On Friday, a case of wildfire was reported from Malki area following which firefighters had to be rushed in called to stamp out the flames.
Earlier this month, a massive fire engulfed parts of Lumparing forest and only recently, a video of a massive wildfire in Sohra had gone viral on social media. Last week, too, a wildfire was witnessed in Mawiong.
All these incidents only corroborate abnormality during only this time of the year.
Speaking on the issue, nodal officer for forest fire in Meghalaya, B Shangdier, said that forest fires usually happen due to jhum, or rather slash-and-burn, cultivation.
As far as the incident on Shillong-Sohra road, the official said that the district forest officers have been asked to submit a report in this regard.
He added that, till now, the cause of the fire cannot be ascertained. “It is not known till now whether it was an accidental or intentional fire,” the official said.
With regard to the cases of forest fires in Shillong, he said that since the state capital is home to abundant pine forests with thick cover, even a tiny, but lit, cigarette butt can trigger a massive fire.
Shangdier, however, maintained that there are few reports of forest fire this year in contrast to yesteryears.
In addition, the department has also stationed 10-15 people in government reserve forests to keep a vigil. He, however, admitted that it is strenuous task for them discharge their duties since some of the forests in Meghalaya are very dense and vast.
Earlier this year, the Dzüko Valley range at Manipur-Nagaland border also suffered a massive wildfire that lasted for nearly two weeks.

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