Bhubaneswar, Mar 14 (PTI) All fires detected in Odisha through satellite imagery were not forest fires, Forest and Environment Minister PK Amat said in the assembly on Tuesday amid concerns of the opposition.

He said stubbles being burnt by the farmers to clear their fields after harvesting were also caught by the satellites.

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"The data received from the satellite is not only about forest fires. In many cases, farmers are setting fires to paddy fields after harvesting to clear the land. That's why more fire was seen in the satellite imagery," Amat said.

"Forest officials were working to douse the blaze in 98 per cent of the area where forest fires have been reported," he added.

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Women self-help groups and forest protection committees have been asked for help to douse the blaze, the minister said.

Congress MLA Suresh Routray and BJP MLA Kusum Tete expressed deep concern over the incidents of fire across the forests in the state.

Routray said the forests of the state have been on fire for the last 15 days.

Tete said the government should take strong action against people setting fire to the forests.

Odisha's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Bibudutta Biswal on Monday said most incidents of forest fire were "man-made".

He said poachers were setting fire to forests for hunting wild animals.

According to the Forest Survey of India, Odisha on Tuesday reported the highest 147 incidents of active fire in forests, followed by Mizoram at 44 and Andhra Pradesh at 38.

The FSI detected as many as 337 active fire points across the country till 8 pm on Tuesday.

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