Panaji (Goa) [India], March 11 (ANI): With forest fires continuing to rage in Goa, the Union environment ministry on Saturday established a 24x7 control room to monitor in real time alerts generated by Forest Survey of India (FSI).

The ministry also said that no major damage to flora and fauna has been observed till now.

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The impacted areas have been divided into sectors and duties have been assigned to DCF and ACF level officers to immediately attend to the fires, for intensive management of forest fires in close coordination with line departments. More than 750 people are on the field to attend to the fire incidences on war-footing, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, to check and prevent unauthorised entries into the forest areas, specific directions have been also given to the DCFs to ensure and strictly enforce the forest laws, as applicable and that matter be flagged to Police Department for investigation at their levels as well.

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The ministry further said that "Joint teams, in co-ordination with District Collector (North)/(South), Police Department, District Disaster Management Authority, Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services, local community, including PRI are deployed on field for immediate management of the fire incidences on war-footing."

The field executives and the teams are attending to the fire by cutting off the fuel to fire through creation of fire-lines and fire breaks, beating of bushes, counter firing, clearing the leaf litter, ministry stated.

"Long dry-spell (almost no rains since mid-October, 2022), coupled with unprecedented high summer temperature with low humidity has resulted in a conducive atmosphere for fire, which has been aggravated by high winds observed in the past couple of weeks, particularly after sundown," said the ministry.

Earlier on March 9, the Indian Air Force deployed one Mi-17 helicopter for fighting raging forest fires in Goa, using Bambi Buckets, stated an official release.

Further, as per the official release, the Indian Air Force is coordinating with the Indian Navy and the civil administration in combating forest fires in the affected areas of the coastal state.

"Operations shall continue till March 10. Bambi Bucket operations involve the helicopter carrying water underslung and releasing it over the affected area to douse the fire," the release read further.

In the recent past, the IAF had also undertaken similar operations in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur.

Goa Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday, said a detailed inquiry has been ordered into the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary fire.

"An inquiry was ordered after a discussion with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant," Rane informed.

Taking to Facebook and Twitter, Rane said, "Strict instructions are being given to the DCF, and orders are being issued to the deputy conservators of forests (DCFs) in various ranges in all the affected areas. Entry into the wildlife sanctuaries will be prohibited and people will also not be allowed to light wildfires."

As per the reports received from the field, since March 5 and till of March 11, 48 fire-spots have been detected in which 41 number of fires have already been doused and seven are reported to be active. (ANI)

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