According to a set of data recently revelaed by Uttarakhand's forest department, over 107 hectares of forest cover have been affected by wildfires since January this month.
Fortunately, the spike in fire incidents so far has not caused any casualties among the villagers or the forest department staffers. The data suggests that the wildfires have not affected livestock as well.
What does the data show?
The data showed that 40.68 hectares of area was gutted in the Garhwal region, followed by 35.55 hectares in the Kumaon region.
31.02 hectares of forest cover was hit by wildfires in admin wildlife, a category of protected forest area.
As per the forest department's data, 40 incidents of wildfires were reported this year in both Garhwal and Kumaon regions.
Wildfire: Cause and effects
Owing to the hot weather, the frquency of wildfires spiked in February as well. Usually, the forest fires in Uttarakhand begin in mid-February and last till the onset of the monsoon in mid-June.
Fires spead in forests easily due to the abundance of dry leaves on the ground and the temperature starts rising. Any spark anywhere can lead to a major fire.
The aftermath of the massive and frequent wildfires have caused monetary loss of over Rs 4,80,000.A loss of Rs 3.66 lakh was reported from Garhwal, over Rs 1 lakh in Kumaon and Rs 14,670 was recorded from admin wildlife.
Uttarakhand has been witnessing massive fires in alternate years recently. In 2019, Uttarakhand recorded 2,981 incidents of fires, and in 2018 the number was 4,480.
In 2017, Uttarakhand recorded 1,228 forest fires, while in 2016, the state saw 4,433 fires and in 2015, it recorded 701 such incidents.