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FOREST FIRE

TABLE OF CONTENTS



S. NO. CONTENTS
PAGE
NUMBER
1. INTRODUCTION 1
2. DAMAGE CAUSED BY FOREST FIRES 3
3. PREVENTIVE MEASURES 5
4. CONTROL OF FOREST FIRES 6
5. FIRE SUPPRESSION METHODS AND TACTICS 8
6. HAND TOOLS FOR FIRE CONTROL 9
7.
CONTROLLED/ PRESCRIBED BURNING
11
8. FIRE FIGHTING 15
9. LEGAL PROVISIONS 17
10.
PERSONAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR
FIRE FIGHTING PERSONNEL.
19
11. Annexures
ANNEX -I
PEAK FIRE OCCURRENCE SEASON IN
DIFFERENCE STATES OF THE COUNTRY
ANNEX - II
GLOSSARY OF COMMON TERMS
21



22
12. REFERENCES/ SOURCE MATERIAL 27


1
FOREST FIRES

Introduction
After deforestation forest Fire is the most important cause of forest destruction. A
single uncontrolled fire can ruin extensive areas.

Forest fires are caused by:

Natural factors:
Lightening
Rolling of stones
Rubbing of bamboos with each other.

Man made factors:
Leaving fires burning by cart man or travelers, lighted by them for cooking
meals.
Throwing of burning match sticks, Bidi or Cigarette stumps in forest by
graziers or other travelers.
Throwing of fire carelessly after illicit collection of honey.
Burning grasslands in villages and accidental spread of such fires in the
forest.
Accidental spread of fires while burning fire lines departmentally.
Burning the grass and shrubs to collect the forest produce such as horns etc.
Fires are caused in Mahua forests to collect the petals and these in turn
destroy the regeneration of previous years.
To get a new flush of grass after rains by burning dry grass in dry weather.
Scaring wild animals from entering the villages.
Forest fires caused in the forest out of enmity with the forest officials.
To destroy the stumps of illicitly cut trees in the forest areas.

Forest fires are of following types

GROUND FIRE: Ground fire burns the ground cover only i.e. the carpet of
herbaceous plants and low shrubs, which cover the soil.
SURFACE FIRE: It is fire which not merely burns the ground cover but also
the under growth. Most of the fires in the plains are surface fires.
CROWN FIRE: A forest fire, which spreads through the crowns of the trees
and consumes all or part of the upper branches and foliage. Common in
coniferous forests. Very devastating.
SUB-SURFACE FIRES: fires, which occur below the surface, e.g. where
there is deep accumulation of raw humus or peat.
2


Distribution of Different combustible materials in a forest



Ground
Tree
crown
Soil fire


Division pattern of fires according to the rate of spread and depth of burning
3
DAMAGE CAUSED BY FOREST FIRES

1. DAMAGE TO THE TREES:
Damage caused to the trees varies with species, age of trees, their
condition and season.
Species, which have thick corky bark, are comparatively less affected by
forest fires than the species with thin bark.
The broad-leaved trees are less affected by forest fires than the conifers,
though Chir on account of its thick bark is comparatively hardy.
The age of the trees also affects the damage due to fire. Pole crops get
damaged because of fire but the bigger diameter trees are relatively less
affected.
If the tree is very old, dry and hollow, then it becomes more susceptible
to fire, because once it catches fire, it burns very fast and for long.
If the tree is very green it is less susceptible to fire than the dry tree.
Season also affects the damage by fire. Fires generally do not occur
during rainy season. During the cold season fire does not occur in snow-
covered areas.
Resin tapping procedures affect the occurrence of fire. Chir forests
become more prone to fire in resin tapping season
Fires in summers are common as well as destructive because of high
temperature, strong wind, dry undergrowth and ground cover and thick
layer of dry fallen leaves.

2. DAMAGE TO REGENERATION:
Fire damages the regeneration completely, even in ordinary ground or
surface fire.
If the species possesses coppicing power, regeneration in the form of
seedling coppice may appear again but even then, loss of growth does
take place.
In repeated fires regeneration may be lost completely.
Fire in artificial regeneration areas or plantations, not only destroys the
plantations but also results in wastage of resources used in raising them.

3. DAMAGE TO SOIL:
Forest fires leaves the soils bare to the action of natural elements i.e.
sun, wind and rain; consequently soil erosion starts, resulting in loss of
top fertile soil.
Destruction of soil organic matter affects the soil structure adversely.
Nitrogen reserves of the soil are depleted.
Fire also destroys humus and soil micro-flora, which in turn affects the
forest growth.

4. DAMAGE TO THE PRODUCTIVE POWER OF THE FORESTS:
Repeated fires degenerate a valuable evergreen forests in to an inferior
deciduous forest or even grassland.
Valuable species disappear and their place is taken by other fire hardy
species.
4
5. DAMAGE TO THE PROTECTIVE POWER OF THE FOREST:
Even ordinary fire burns down the ground cover and undergrowth
completely and therefore affects the protective power of the forest.
Fire increases the flood havoc as it destroys the protective cover of the
forest. Heavy rains on newly denuded slopes results in to devastating
floods.

6. DAMAGE TO WILD ANIMALS:
Forest fire results in to enormous loss to wildlife and birds. Not only eggs
and young ones, but sometimes bigger animals are also burnt to death.
Forest fires cause loss of habitat for the wild fauna making them
susceptible to death due to poaching, adverse weather conditions or
killing by predator species.
As destruction of wild animals destroys a valuable component of
environment, natural equilibrium is seriously affected with consequent
adverse effect on vegetation itself.

7. DAMAGE TO RECREATIONAL AND SCENIC VALUE OF FORESTS:
As fire destroys the greenery of the forest, it destroys its recreational and
aesthetic value. Forest no longer remains a fit place for recreation, as
the ground is littered with ash and blackened stems of shrubs and poles
of trees making the entire place desolate. Fire reduces the moisture level
and leads to ecological degradation of the site.


FIRE ENVIRONMENT


















TOPOGRAPHY
(Altitude and Aspect)
INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL
(Dry grass, leaves, lops and
tops, resin in pots, etc.)
WEATHER
(Temperature, Relative
humidity, Wind velocity)

FIRE TRIANGLE
5
PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Measures, which prevent the occurrence
Or minimize the chances of occurrence of fire.

Indirect preventive measures:

Restriction of entry in to the forest
Entry of common public in the forest restricted during fire season.
Strict vigil on poachers and suspicious looking people in the forests.

Public awareness/public opinion
While the goodwill of the local people will prevent deliberate fires, it cannot
put to an end to accidental fires.
Creating public awareness through press, radio, television, posters and
films shows about the causes of fire and their effect will go a long way in
preventing the fire.

Forbidding collection of certain items of forest produce during summer
Collection of honey, seeds etc. should be restricted during the summer to
reduce the chances of accidental fire.

Denial of benefits, which accrue from forest fire
Denial of benefits of grazing in fire burnt areas by invoking section 26(3)
and 33(2) of the Indian Forest Act 1927 for people, who set fire to burn the
dry grass to get an early new flush of green grass.

Putting up notices prohibiting kindling and carrying of fire.
Before the fire season begins, posters about fire hazards, prohibition of
kindling and carrying of fire through the forest can be put up in prominent
places to remind people about fire risk and preventing chances of fire.

Direct preventive measures

Clearing camping sites and areas along paths and roads
A large no of accidental fires start from camping sites where people stay
for short periods of time. Inflammable material around such sites should be
cleared before the onset of dry season.
Fires starting from Bidi or Cigarette stumps thrown carelessly by the
roadside can be prevented by controlled burning all grass and leaves.

Early burning
Early burning is done to burn down all inflammable material such as grass,
fallen leaves and broken branches before the commencement of hot
weather to prevent the occurrence of fire and even when it does occur it
can be easily controlled.
When early burning is done carefully, forest floor is carpeted with new
green grass.
Fires are harmful to the forests and early burning is no exception, but
extreme care should be taken during the process.
Various factors should be taken into consideration, such as, uncertainty of
weather, unsuitability of certain forests to burning, slash disposal &
controlled burning in resin taping areas and clearance of fire lines.
6
CONTROL OF FOREST FIRES

1. PREVENTION OF MAN CAUSED FIRES
Two basic steps to prevent fire:

i) Reduce risk through awareness
Signs, posters, advertisement, exhibits etc.
Radio, still pictures, motion pictures and television etc.
Personal contacts with individuals and groups
Law enforcement
Prevention through education to children

ii) Hazard reduction
Stop or help stop a fire from reaching a particular area or property.
Prevent a fire from a spreading to a known or suspected ignition
source.
Breakup forest area into units to help in general strategy of fire control.
Reduce fuel hazard in an area like slash disposal.

2. FIRE BREAKS - Impose some obstacle to the spread of fires.
Act as a barrier to prevent the spread of fire to a particular area.
Prevent the spread of fire from a fire source to other areas.
Break up large fuel areas into smaller ones.

Methods of construction and maintaining firebreaks:

Mechanical - land clearing equipment.
Chemical - such as use of weed and tree-killing chemicals.
Vegetative - Green vegetation is an effective fire retardant and is a
relatively permanent firebreak at low maintenance cost.
Burning: The burning of protective strips is a common practice.

3. FUEL REDUCTION - The purpose of fuel reduction is to reduce the fire
hazard. Increase in hazard is controlled by following conditions:
More the quantity and coarseness of slash, greater the fire hazard.
If the slash is continuous in distribution, the hazard will be more.
More the inflammability of the slash material, greater the fire hazard.

7
4. DETECTION OF FIRE - No suppression action on a wild fire can be
taken until it is discovered. Hence the detection of fires is very
important.

Visibility: Fires are detected almost entirely visually, by smoke during
the day and by flame at night. A number of factors affect the visibility and
the detection of small forest smokes under field conditions. Haze in the
forest reduces the forest fire detection considerably.

Lookout tower construction and equipment: Lookout towers are
constructed inside the forest for round the clock watch and ward. The
personnel employed for watch and ward keep a vigil in the forest area by
binoculars and if the fire is detected, information is given to the control
room through wireless for taking further necessary action.
























A Steel Fire Observation Tower
8
FIRE SUPPRESSION METHODS AND TACTICS


CONTROL LINE METHOD: A control line is established to stop fire spread
by robbing fire of its fuel by physical means, i.e., by breaking the
availability of fuel continuity. A control line can also be established by
directly extinguishing the fire along the edge or by making the fuels non-
inflammable. However the physical removal of fuel is by far the most
common approach.

AREA METHOD: Instead of constructing the control lines on the perimeter of
the fire, the burning area or the part of it, may be treated as a whole. The
small fires or part of large fires, are frequently treated with water or other
chemicals on an area basis.

BACKFIRING: It means the deliberate setting of fires at a substantial distance
from the front of a wild fire to reduce fuels in its path or to change the
direction of fire. The basic principle of backfiring is to fight fire with fire-
some area is deliberately sacrificed to prevent a larger loss. Fighting fire
with fire is always risky since larger backfires as well as main fire may
become unmanageable. Some calculated risks are always necessary.

WATER FOR FIRE SUPRESSION: The three-way effect of water on fire:
Brings down the temperature of the fire-affected area down.
Exerts smothering effect on fire by reducing the availability of oxygen.
Wets the fuel and making it temporarily non available for combustion.

CHEMICALS FOR FIRE SUPRESSION: Despite its efficiency, the effect of
water is temporary besides requirement in large quantities. Therefore,
there has been a long search for chemicals that would be most persistent
or put out more fire per unit of bulk.

Wetting agents: Wetting agents are chemicals which, when added to water
in proper quantities, change the physical characteristics and reduce its
surface tension, increasing its penetrating and spreading abilities, making it
more effective in controlling the fire.

Fire-retarding agents: Chemicals that reduce the flammability of wood and
other combustible material. It may reduce the rate of burning or flaming.
Sodium calcium borate is a promising fire retardant, although only slightly
soluble but forms a stable suspension (slurry), when mixed with water.

Foam: A foaming agent in powder or liquid form can be introduced in to water
hose line, forming bubbles, which greatly increase the mixture volume and
therefore less water is required.

9
HAND TOOLS FOR FIRE CONTROL





1,2,3 are many types of axes, which are the prime hand cutting tools.
Pulaski tool (4): It combines cutting with digging tool.
Shovels (5,6): It is most versatile and simple tool almost universally used.
Council rake or rich tool (7): consists of four heavy moving machine sickle
bar blades riveted to a one-inch piece of angle iron, which is attached to a
handle. This can be used for digging, cutting or raking.
McLeod Tool (8): combination heavy-duty rake and hoe for cutting litter
matter and clearing surface material.
Swatter or flap (9): This tool consists of a piece of heavy belting about 15
inch long and 12 inches wide mounted with a long handle. It is effective and
widely used in beating out fires in grass and similar light fuels.


10





Brush cutters (10,11 and 12): These are various types of brush cutters.
Grub hoe and Mattock (13 and 14): very simple tools very effective in fire
line cutting.
Brooms (16 and 17): very effective in sweeping the light leaf litter.
Saws (15,18 and 19): The power chain saw (15), crosscut saw (19) and bow
saw (18) are used for felling stems and timber.

11
CONTROLLED/ PRESCRIBED BURNING

USES

Hazard reduction- Hazard reduction or fuel management (the reduction
and control of forest litter and undergrowth) is important in plantations
because of higher establishment costs and increasing timber values.

Site preparation- pines need bare soil and full sun to regenerate and grow.
Fire is an economical tool that can be used to help provide these conditions.
For natural regeneration, a programme of several prescribed burns may be
needed before harvest, which reduce hardwood shade and competition and
provide a suitable seedbed.

Wildlife habitat Improvement- prescribed burns for other purposes often
benefit wildlife as well. Fuel reduction burns can reduce predator cover,
expose hidden seeds, and increase herbs and legumes. Control burns
produce fresh low browse. Prescribed burning can help in controlling the
spread of unwanted species and provide chance to other species to grow as
a fodder for the wild animals.

Disease Control- prescribed burning is a very practical method of
controlling many diseases. When more than 25 percent of seedlings two
years old or older are infected, a late winter burn is recommended. A fire at
this time will burn away the infected needles in case of pine and leaves of
deciduous forests without killing the well-protected bud.

Improve Accessibility removal of excess underbrush improves
accessibility and visibility. This cleaning is an aid in marking and cruising
timber, harvesting operations, and other management and marketing
activities. Prescribed burning can help to create and maintain a diversity of
vegetation types and openings or park-like stands. Such diversity can
improve recreational and aesthetic values in addition to providing access for
bird watchers.

CONDITIONS FOR PRESCRIBED BURNING

Fuel Conditions- In India there is a lot of biotic pressure on forests, which
dont allow more litter to accumulate on the ground. However, wherever
required, initial burn is made when humidity is around 50 % and lower litter
fuel moisture is at a relatively high level (20+%). With a strong wind and low
air temperature (<50
0
F), a backfire can be used successfully under a stand
of medium height trees.

Temperature 10 - 15
0
C. (Summer >25
0
C) - Air temperatures 10 -15
0
C are
recommended for winter burring in young stands. When temperatures are low,
there is less chance of raising the temperature of needle or stem tissues to
12
harmful levels. Burning to control undesirable species or site preparation are
often best accomplished with summer burns & air temperatures above 25
0
C.

Wind- (steady 2 km./hr to 10 km./hr) - Wind is also necessary to supply
oxygen to the fire and dissipate the heat. Wind speeds from 2 to 10 km/hr on
the site are best for most fuel and stand conditions. More wind is needed to
dissipate heat quickly when the burning is under immature trees or when fuels
are heavy. Wind speed should be low to moderate when head fires are used.

Relative Humidity (RH)- 30% to 50%- The RH is the actual amount of
moisture in the air compared to the total amount it could hold at that
temperature and pressure. With a rise in temperature from early morning to
mid afternoon, R.H. could be reduced by about half. This change can cause a
fire that would hardly burn in the morning to become a fire that would be
difficult to control in the afternoon. RH for most prescribed burns should be
from 30 - 50 %. When humidity is lower, burning is dangerous. A spark will
burn longer in drier air, increasing the possibility of spot fires outside the area.

Rainfall (2cm. To 4 cm One week (average) before burning) - About 2 -
4cmof rain is usually needed, 5 -10 days before a prescribed burn. However,
the effect of rain (or other precipitation) on fuel moisture and soil moisture
depends on the amount of rain, its duration, and drying conditions since the
last rain. For most prescribed burns, upper litter layer should be dry to touch
(5 to 12 % fuel moisture). Thin organic layer on the top of the mineral soil
should be moist, and soil beneath should be damp. These conditions normally
permit an effective burn with good fuel consumption and minimum smoke. It
will also protect small roots and micro- organisms in the upper layer of soil.

Season - Winter season offers several advantages to forests. Trees are less
susceptible to injury since they are dormant or semi dormant. Weather
conditions are more predictable, and persistent winds occur more frequently.
The best time for winter burning is after killing frost. The season lasts until
trees begin growth in the spring. Spring or early summer burns generally are
more effective because there is less stored food after leaf development and
new growth. However, wildlife nesting areas and dates should be avoided
when planning spring burns. Spring and summer burns must be executed with
more care because of less predictable weather, more variable winds, and
higher temperatures. Fuels should first be reduced by a winter burn.

Time of day daytime burning offers the advantages of better weather and
working conditions. Help is also more readily available. At night, winds
normally lessen or die down. Thus heat and flames will go straight up and
may cause serious injury to the timber. Relative humidity rises sharply when
the sun goes down, causing patchy burning or extinguishing the fire.

13
Types of controlled burning: -

Backfire If forest area has not been burned in several years, then a winter
backfire should be used first to reduce the fuel level. This initial place should
usually be at the most downwind break in the area to be burned. As fire is
set along this firebreak, it should be watched carefully for spot-over, fires
started by sparks blowing across the break. Backfire technique requires a
stronger and steadier wind, especially if there is a heavy fuel level. It is also
well suited to sapling size stands and plantations 5cm or more in height.
Fires behave somewhat differently in hilly areas. Most fires moving
uphill are head fires, and those moving downhill are backfires. When
prescribed burning is done in these areas, wind and slope both must be
considered.


















Start & end
plowing here
Wind
Ploughed
N
Start fire
BACKFIRE TECHNIQUE
Strip head Fire- generally, head fires should not be used on timbered areas
until a backfire has first reduced the fuel. The strip head fire technique is a
series of short head fires. First, a downwind firebreak or line is burned with a
backfire to give a more secure area. Then, at short distances upwind (20 to
50m.) lines of fire are strung across the area strung across the area and
allowed to burn with the wind into another line of the downwind. Distances
between the strips are varied according to the wind, fuel, and stand
conditions. In this manner, no line of fire is allowed to build to a high
intensity before running into another burned strip. A head fire requires just
enough wind to carry the fire ( 2 to 5mph). It is a technique that permit
burning large areas in a short time and is generally more economical
because more area can be burned during a period of time and because
fewer interior firebreaks are needed.



14






Flank Fire A flank fire is more often used to supplement other burning
techniques. A line of fire is set into the find and burns outward at right angles
to the wind. A flank fire can be used with a backfire to catch up a section of
the line that is burning too slowly. It is used quite often to secure the flanks
of a backfire or strip head fire.





15
FIRE FIGHTING

Detection of fires-

Voluntary reporting - where forest areas are interspersed by habitation,
it is possible that the local population including right holders, travelers
etc. will report the fires. This is possible only where the local population
is sufficiently motivated. Although, legally the right holders are duty
bound to report forest fires, but this does not always happen. The major
responsibility therefore remains on the frontline staff of the forest
departments.

Ground patrolling- Since the view of patrolman is often restricted, only
limited area can be covered by this method and therefore, can be used
for most valuable forests where fire danger may be high. Patrolman may
travel on foot, bicycle, horse or mule, vehicles or boats etc. and should
make use of vantage points including trees prepared for easy climbing.
The inherent weakness of the method is that no part of the area covered
is visible continuously and therefore, discovery time of fires is often long.
Moreover, really adequate detection by patrolman is more expensive in
the long run.

Apart from the mobile patrol parties organized by several State
forest Department, mainly for checking theft of forest produce, fire
watchman are engaged during fire season for a period of 3 to 5 months,
particularly for regeneration areas in most parts of India. These fire
watchman assist for forest staff in detecting and preventing forest fires as
well as drive away the cattle from plantation areas. They do not have any
training in fire prevention or fire detecting and being employed on season
basis, they are often not able to develop any expertise in their work.

Watch towers/Look-out stations- the fire watchtowers or lookout
stations are generally regarded as most satisfactory for fire detection.
The watchtowers should have the maximum unobstructed view and
should provide for the comfort, convenience and protection of the
observer. The design should provide for safety against lightening, falling
trees and high winds. Such watchtowers are usually constructed in
wildlife reserves and sanctuaries.

Equipment: The observer at the watchtower has to be provided with suitable
equipment to assist him in locating the fire. Most important is to topographical
map on suitable scale (1-1 km or =1 km) correctly oriented with
16
surrounding countryside, mounted on a lookout board or fire finder disc,
correctly centered on the location and showing the position of neighbouring
watch tower stations. Osborne fire finder is one of the most extensively used
instrument, which enables the observer to read with precision the horizontal
and vertical angles to the fire to determine its location as well as size. A
binocular is a useful instrument for the observer. Colored glasses to provide
protection to the eyes of the observer while looking against the sun, suitable
means of communication (telephone or wire less radio), meteorological
instruments, record forms, water supply arrangements etc. should also be
provided.

Adequate force the strength of the gang dealing with a fire should depend
on its spread, direction and velocity of wind, quantity inflammable material
available to feed the fire, etc. At present in India we have to depend on the
strength of labour which is available in a locality and which we can muster at
short notice on payment. This again will depend on the willing co-operation of
the villagers.

Proper equipment - there are very few equipment in use in India for regular
fire fighting. Shovels, axes, and rakes are all that may be available in some
places. However, standardised equipment units may be consisting of road
rakes, shovels, slashers, felling-axes, hatchets, garden forks and water
buckets etc. are also in use in some places.

Hand tools- The man with the hand tools is still the most important fire
fighting unit. This is especially so in India where we have been following the
old set methods in putting out fires. Except an axe or a billhook, practically no
other hand tool is used to put out fires in India. Beating of fire is done by
green brushwood, which is discarded after the work is over. This not only
takes lot of energy but the out turn is minimum.

MECHANISED FIRE EQUIPMENTS There are various mechanised fire
equipment, such as tractor ploughs and bulldozers of various capacities. The
main object is to contract a fire line by exposing mineral soil quickly to a width
of 1 2 m to arrest spread of fire. These mostly consist of trucks fitted with
extendable ramps or planks to permit driving on or off the tractor plough.
These are useful in undulating sites and are very effective in constructing a
fire line, but on steep slopes their use is limited. If water is available, tanker
and portable pumps would be vary useful in controlling fires.


17
LEGAL PROVISIONS

Indian Forest Act 1927

Section 26 - Acts prohibited in Reserve Forests.

(1) Any person who-
a. Sets fire to a RF, or in contravention, of any rules made by the State
Govt. in this behalf, kindles any fire, or leave any fire burning, in such
manner as to endanger such a forest: or who, in a RF-
b. Kindles, keeps or carries any fire except at such seasons as the Forest
Officer may notify in this behalf
c. Fells, girdles, lops or burns any tree or strips off the bark or leaves
from, or otherwise damages, the same:
d. Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to
6 months, or with fine, which may extend to 500 Rs., or with both, in
addition to such compensation for damage done to the forest as the
convicting Court may direct to be paid.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit -
a. Any act done by permission in writing of the Forest-officer, or under
any rule made by the State Govt.; or
b. The exercise of any right continued under clause (c) of sub-section (2)
of Section 15, or created by grant or contract in writing made by or on
behalf of the Govt., and

(3) Whenever fire is caused willfully or by gross negligence in RF, the State
Govt. may (notwithstanding that any penalty has been inflicted under this
section) direct that in such forest or any portion thereof the exercise of all
rights of pasture or to forest-produce shall be suspended for such period
as it thinks fit.

Section 33 - Penalties for acts in contravention of notification u/s 30 or
of rules u/s 32

(1) Any person who commits any of the following offences, namely

a. Fells, girdles, lops, taps or burns any tree u/s 30, or strips off the bark
or leaves from or otherwise damages, any such tree;
b. Sets fire to such forest, or kindles a fire without taking all reasonable
precautions to prevent its spreading to any tree reserved u/s 30,
18
whether standing, fallen or foiled, or to say closed portion of such
forest;
c. Leaves burning any fire kindled by him in the vicinity of any such tree
or closed portion;
d. Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to
6 months, or with fine, which may extend to 500 Rs., or with both.

(2) Whenever fire is caused willfully or by gross negligence in a PF, the State
Govt. may, notwithstanding that any penalty has been inflicted under this
section, direct that in such forest or any portion thereof the exercise of any
right of pasture or to forest-produce shall be suspended for such period as
it thinks fit.

Section 34 - Nothing in this Chapter shall be deemed to prohibit any act done
with the permission in writing of the Forest-officer, or in accordance with
rules made u/s 32, or, except as regards any portion of a forest closed u/s
33, in the exercise of any right recorded u/s 29.


Wildlife Protection Act 1972

Section 30 - Causing fire prohibited No person shall set fire to a
sanctuary, or kindle any fire, or leave any fire burning, in a sanctuary, in
such, manner as to endanger such sanctuary.

Section 35 (8) - The provisions of section 30 shall, as far as may be, apply in
relation to a NP as they apply in relation to a sanctuary.

Section 51 (Before 2002 Amendment) - Any person who contravenes any
provisions of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder, shall be guilty
of an offence against this Act, and shall, on conviction, be punishable with
imprisonment for max of 3 years and/or maximum fine of Rs 25,000.



19
Personal safety precautions for fire fighting frontline staff

While fighting fire in the forests, the frontline staff is often faced with a number
of situations, which could become seriously injurious to heath and life.
Due precautions should necessary be taken while saving the forest areas
from fire.
All the instructions from senior officers and supervisors guiding the fire-
fighting operations should be strictly followed in letter and spirit.
Before beginning fire fighting operations availability of necessary information
including maps guidelines weather conditions etc. should be ensured.
Local fire officer should also be informed before beginning such operations.
It should always be ensured that at least one safe escape route is always be
available. Always keep an eye on the escape route.
Never stray away from your group of fellow workers.
Always keep the means of communications clear and working.
Fire fighting is a risky operation and team work would not only ensure success
but would also keep the morale high which is often a decisive factor in the
success of such operations.

Saving Health and Life
Some of the hazards and consequent precaution to be taken are:

1. Heat stroke
If trapped dangerously in a fire island, then excessive heat may be seriously
hazardous for life. All efforts should be made for protection from heat.
Find a suitable obstruction to heat and use it to protect yourself. The
obstructions could be a house, large boulders, natural caves or water bodies.
Blankets could also be used, but never use wet blankets.

2. Smoke inhalation
When there is a lot of smoke try to stay close to the ground as smoke rises in
the air and cold air tends to settle down.
Try to control your breath in areas in excessive smoke.

3. Dehydration
Wear clothes made of natural fibres only such cotton and wool. Never
wear synthetics or mixed fibres. Ensure that your clothes allow adequate
circulation of air, from head to toe, to keep the body cool.
Adequate drinking water supply should always be available close by.
Keep drinking water regularly. While fighting fire, your body can loose about
one litre of water every hour and needs to be continuously replenished with
say, 200 to 250 ml water every 15 minutes. Remember, dehydration can
be lethal. Always remember to drink plenty of water even before beginning
fires fighting operations.
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If water is not adequate, the body temperatures may rise very fast leading to
heat stroke which could be lethal.
Avoid drinking tea & coffee, which can increase loss of water from body.
Every now and then, give yourself some rest, taking turns in the group.
If any of your fellow workers is affected by heat and dehydration, he should be
immediately removed from the site. There should not be any delay in
providing medical aid.
Never attempt to participate in fire fighting operations in an intoxicated
or inebriated state.

Other safety precautions
Falling trees and dried branches can cause serious injuries. Hence, always
wear fire safety helmets and other safety headgear.
Be careful about rolling boulders, falling trees etc. on hill slopes.
Keep estimating the wind velocity and direction and take adequate measures.
Be ready to deal with any emergency situations.

Fire fighting at night
Working at night to fight fire is much more difficult than during the day.
Availability of lightweight torches and headlamps should be ensured, so that
burnt out branches and shrubs, especially at eye level, can be clearly.
Preferably wear light colours or yellow coloured clothes, which have better
visibility at night.

Care of fire fighting tools
Tools like rake and axes should always be kept clean and sharp.
Tool handles should also be kept clean and neatly smoothened regularly.
Never use varnishes or paints on fire fighting tools.
During fire fighting operations never carry tools on shoulders.
Broken or damaged tools should immediately be repaired or replaced.

List of essential items for a fire fighter
Location maps
Fire fighting helmet, Gloves and Eyeglasses
Cotton clothes or specially designed clothes made available by the
department for fire fighting operations.
Shoes made of tough leather and fire proof sole.
Cotton or woolen socks.
Mask or light cotton muffler to cover the face.
Water bottle and some light edibles.
Torch
Small wireless, if available.
Fire fighting tools as directed by the supervisor.
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Annex -I

Peak Fire Occurrence Season in difference states of the country

Months of Occurrence
State/U.T.
Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Assam
Andaman &
Nicobar
Islands

Andhra
Pradesh

Bihar
Dadra &
Nagar
Haveli

Gujarat
Goa,
Daman &
Diu

Haryana
Himachal
Pradesh

Karnataka
Kerala
Maharashtra
Madhya
Pradesh

Nagaland
Punjab
Rajasthan
Sikkim
Tamil Nadu
Uttar
Pradesh

Uttaranchal
Peak fire Season
Additional months of Fire occurrence
No fire


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ANNEX - II

Glossary of common terms

Actionable fire: Refers to the active fire.
(a) Any fire that requires suppression.
(b) A fire started or allowed to spread in violation of law,
ordinance or regulation. Sometimes, this fire is also called
as going fire
Adaptation: The process(es) whereby individuals(s) populations or species
change in structure, from or function in such a way as better to
survive under a given environmental condition.
Aerial fuels: These are the standing and supported forest combustibles
which are not in direct contact with the ground and consisting
mainly of foliage, twigs, stems, branches, vines etc.
Allowable burned area: It pertains to allowable burn and acceptable burn. It is the
maximum average acreage burned over a period of time (years),
that is considered and acceptable loss for a given area under
organized fire control. However, this varies according to forest
types, regions and the values at stake.
Anchor point: Refers to an advantageous location, generally a fire barrier, from
which to start constructing a fire line.
Attack a fire: A process, which limits the spread of fire by cooling or
smothering it, or by removing or otherwise treating the fuel
around its perimeter.
Back burn: It is also known as backfire. Any controlled burning against the
prevailing wind or wind direction.
Back fire: Signifies a fire intentionally set along the inner edge of a control
line to consume the fuel in the path of a forest fire. Further, it
can change the direction of force of the fires convection column.
Also, a prescribed burning against the prevailing wind in the
area. The backfire is generally set against the fire to be fought to
exhaust the fuel, so that when the two fire meet, both go out.
Blind area: The ground or the vegetation growing there on,
(a) That is very much visible to a lookout and lies more that a
specified depth below the line of sight.
(b) That lies at the limit of visibility of the lookout and lacks a
good background.
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Burning block: In prescribed burning, an area having sufficiently uniform
conditions of stand and fuel to be treated uniformly under a
given burning prescription.
Burning prescribed: The burning carried out under the direct supervision of crews,
especially, trained in the methods and procedures of when,
where and how the fire can be used beneficially to improve
timber management.
Bush fire: This fire refers to the wild fire and forest fires also. Generally this
type of fire burns more quickly than woods.
Charcoal: It is a form of carbon derived from the incomplete combustion of
animal or vegetable matter, for examples, bones or woods.
Clean burn: Any type of fire, whether deliberately set or accidental, that
destroys all above-ground vegetation and litter, along with the
lighter slash, so exposing the mineral soil.
Counter fire: An internal burning towards on advancing forest fire so as to
effect the extinction of both. Also, a fire set between a forest fire
and a backfire so as to hasten the spread of the latter.
Creeping fire: A fire spreading slowly over the ground, generally with a low
flame. Also, it is known as running fire.
Crown fire: A fire that runs through the tops of trees, scrub or brush wood.
However, such fires may be classed as either running or
independent accordingly as they accompany, or are separate
from, surface fires.
Danger: It is concerned to all the sum of hazards, risks etc. in addition to
the damage and some other influencing factors (agents).
Direct fire suppression: It is any treatment of the actual burning fuel, for example, by
wetting, smothering, or chemically quenching the fire, or b way
of physically separating the burning from unburned fuel.
Direct visible area: Signifies the ground, or vegetation growing there on, that is
directly visible under given atmospheric conditions from an
established or proposed look out point
Discovery time: It is the elapsed time from the starting point of the fire, either
known or estimated, until the time of the first discovery. Also,
more specifically the discovery that results directly in the fire
suppression action.
Drift: The direction taken by smoke from a fire. Also, referred as drift
smoke.
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Early burning: Controller burning early in the dry season before the leaves and
undergrowth are completely dry or before the leaves are shed,
as an insurance against severer fire damage.
False smoke: Pertains too any phenomenon likely to be mistaken for smoke,
such as that of fog, or dust from cattle-driving or road traffic.
Fire atlas: Refers to an ordered collection of fire maps, charts and
statistics, used as a basis for the fire control plan.
Fire break: An existing barrier, or one constructed before a fire occurs, from
which all or most of the inflammable materials have been
removed. It is designed to stop or check creeping or running but
not spotting fires, or to serve as a line from which to work and
facilitate the movement of fire fighters and equipment in fire
suppression.
Fire beater: A fire suppression tool, sometimes improvised, used in direct
attack for beating out flames along a fire edge or from a light
fire. However, it may consist merely of a bunch of twigs or wet
sacking, or be a manufactured tool e.g. a flap of belting fabric
fastened to a long handle.
Fire belt: A strip, cleared or planted with trees, maintained as a fire break.
Fire control: Pertains to fire conservancy or fire protection. All activities
concerned with protection from fire, consisting of fire prevention,
fire pre-suppression, fire detection and fire suppression.
Fire damage: Pertains to the loss, expressed in monetary or other terms,
caused by fire. It, however, includes both direct losses such as
timber, installations and wildlife damaged or destroyed, and the
indirect losses such as reduction in the future productive-
capacity of the soil, and impairment of the water economy.
Fire danger: Refers to the resultant, often expressed as a danger index, of
both constant and variable danger factor affecting the inception,
spread and difficulty of control of fires and the damage they
generally cause.
Fire hazard reduction: It is any treatment of fuels that reduces the threat of ignition
and the spread of fire.
Fire line: Has different meaning at different places.
(c) A loose term for any cleared strip used in fire control.
(d) A considerable width. However, at some place e.g.
Southern Africa, such a line left between plantations is
termed as cut-off.
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(e) In U.S.A used as fire trench. That portion of a control line
from which termed flammable materials have been
removed by scrapping or digging down to the mineral soil.
(f) A line cleared round an actionable fire, generally following
its edge, for preventing further spread of the fire and
effectively control it.
Fire pre-suppression: The activities of fire control in advance of fire occurrence to
ensure effective fire suppression. It requires an over-all planning
such as recruitment and training of fire-control personnel etc.
Fire prevention: Those fire control activities concerned with the attempt to reduce
the number of fires through education, law enforcement and the
fire hazard reduction.
Fire season: (a) In general, the periods of year during which fires are likely to
occur and become dangerous in the area of their occurrence.
(b) Referred to as closed fire season, the period(s) of the year
during which the use of fire in a forest is subject to the legal
restrictions.
Fire trap:- Refers to the accumulation of highly combustible material,
rendering fire-fighting dangers.
Also, any situation in which it is highly dangerous to fight against
the fire.
Flank fire: It is a type of fire set along a control line parallel to the wind/wind
direction and is allowed to spread at perpendicular to it, towards
the main fire. (Cf. Counter fire and Flanks of a fire).
Flanks of fire: Those parts of a fires perimeter that are roughly parallel to the
main direction of spread.
Fuelwood: Also, called firewood. Wood-round, cleft, or sawn, and generally
otherwise refuse material-cut into short lengths or hogged for
burning purpose.
Ground fire: It represents the fire that burns the organic material in the soil
layer, for example, a peat fire and often also the surface litter
and small vegetation. (Cf. Surface fire, Crown fire).
Hazard reduction: Any treatment of inflammable material, other that accidental
burning, that results in diminishing the chances of fire starting or
spreading in them.
Head fire: Refers to the fires spreading, or set to spread, with the wind.
Heat kill: Describes the death of foliage by the effect of heat from a fire,
without any sign of carrying or browning. Cf. Scorch line.
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Normal fire season: It can be explained as,
(g) A season in which weather, fire danger, and the number
and distribution of fires are about average.
(h) (b) The period of the year that normally comprises of the
fire season.
Open fire: Describe the type of fire, which burns in the open space
particularly with the help of piled material and duff.
Patch burning: Describes the burning of felling debris, grass etc. in patches for
the purpose of preparing sites for group planting or sowing.
Also, in Australia, controlled burning for the purpose of forming a
barrier to subsequent fires.
Prescribed burning: This refers to the controlled application of fire to wild-land fuels
in either their natural or modified state, under such condition of
weather, fuel moisture, soil moisture, etc. However, it allows the
fire to be confined to a predetermined area and at the same to
produce the intensity of heat and rate of spread required to
further certain planned objectives of silviculture, wildlife
management, grazing, fire hazard reduction etc. it requires to
employ fire scientifically so to realize maximum nett benefits with
that of minimum damage and at the acceptable cost. (Cf.
Controlled Burning, Light Burning).
Reburn: Describes the repeat burning of a area over which a fire ahs
previously passed but has left over the fuel subsequently
ignitable. Also, the area so reburned.
Smoke haze: the haze caused by smoke alone and not by water vapour, dust
or other suspended matter.
Spot fire: Fire set outside the perimeter of main fire by flying sparks or
embers.
Strip burning: Described as
(i) Setting of fire to a narrow strip of fuel adjacent to a
control line and then burning successively wider adjacent
strips as the preceding strip burns out.
(j) Also, refers to the burning only a relatively narrow strip or
strips of slash through it, leaving the remainder.
Test fire: A controlled fire, set to evaluate such things as fire behaviour,
efficiency in detection, control measures.
Wild fire: It is equated with free-burning fire, bush fire; any fire other than
a controlled or prescribed burn, occurring on wild land.
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References / Source Material

1. Kenneth P. Davis (1959). Forest Fire: Control and Use, McGraw - Hill Book
Company, Inc, London.
2. S.B. Show and B. Clarke (1953). Forest Fire Control, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
3. S.S. Sagwal (1991). Dictionary of Forest Fire, Ashish Publishing House,8/81
Punjabi Bagh New Delhi.
4. E.S. Artsybashev (1983). Forest Fires and Their Control, Oxford press Pvt.,
Ltd., New Delhi.
5. G.S. Rawat & S. Nautiyal (1999). Forest Fire And Its Control Measures,
Oriental Enterprises, Dehradun (India).



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