India loses at least Rs. 1,100 crore due to forest fires every year, says a new World Bank Report. The report, “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India”, jointly prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the World Bank says forest fires are today a leading cause of forest degradation in India. The report discusses policies on forest fire prevention and management (FFPM) at the national, state and local levels, underscoring the need for a comprehensive national policy and guidelines. It provides recommendations on five broad themes – policy, institutions and capacity, community engagement, technology, and data and information and looks at national and international best practices in FFPM.
“Forest fires are a challenge across many countries. They lead to the loss of lives and livelihoods for people directly dependent on forest produce. This report discusses policies on forest fire prevention and management and underscores the need for better fire prevention practices and a well-equipped and trained workforce to fight fires,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the MoEFCC on this important agenda, and to contribute towards informing its National Action Plan on Forest Fire Prevention and Management in India.”