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January 20 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Forest fires in the Himalayan region, particularly in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have surged this winter due to a lack of precipitation. The Forest Survey of India (FSI) reports a substantial increase in incidents, with 2,050 forest fires recorded between October 16, 2023, and January 16, 2024, compared to 296 incidents during the same period the previous year.

What is Forest Fire?

Forest fires, also known as bush or vegetation fires, are uncontrolled and non-prescribed combustion of plants in natural settings like forests, grasslands, and tundras. The fire consumes natural fuels and spreads based on environmental conditions such as wind and topography.


  • Surface Fire: Spreads along the ground, consuming surface litter.
  • Underground Fire: Burns organic matter beneath the forest floor and may continue for months, destroying vegetative cover.
  • Ground Fire: Burns in subsurface organic fuels, often ignited by surface fires, and can destroy vegetation completely.

Factors Contributing to Forest Fires in Himalayan Region:

Lack of Snowfall and Precipitation:

  • Absence of snowfall and rainfall leaves the region dry, impacting soil moisture.
  • Crucial for preventing the forest floor from becoming excessively dry.

Dry Conditions:

  • Lack of moisture in soil and vegetation creates favorable conditions for fires.
  • Dry leaves and soil act as potential fuel for fires.
  • Rising temperatures linked to climate change contribute to forest drying.

Human Activities:

  • Careless discarding of cigarettes and uncontrolled burning trigger fires.
  • Controlled burning by the forest department, if not managed properly, can exacerbate the issue.

Vulnerable Tree Species:

  • Presence of fire-prone and flammable tree species like Chir pine increases the risk.
  • About 15% of Himachal’s forest area is covered with chir pine.

Long Dry Spell:

  • Extended periods without rainfall or snowfall make the region more susceptible to fires.

Government Initiatives to Cope With Forest Fires:

National Action Plan for Forest Fires (NAPFF):

  • Initiated in 2018 to reduce forest fires by informing and empowering forest fringe communities.
  • Aims to incentivize collaboration with state forest departments.

Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FPM):

  • Government-sponsored program assisting states in dealing with forest fires.

Way Forward:

Advanced Fire Detection and Monitoring Systems:

  • Implement satellite-based technologies for early warnings and rapid response to potential forest fires.

Community Engagement:

  • Involve local communities in forest management and fire prevention efforts.
  • Conduct awareness programs to educate residents about responsible forest practices and fire safety.

Sustainable Forest Management:

  • Implement practices focusing on maintaining biodiversity.
  • Promote fire-resistant vegetation and reduce the presence of highly flammable tree species.


January 20
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: