Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], March 22 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today launched the 'Hategi Fulnu, Lautegi Charagah' campaign on the occasion of World Forestry Day, which aims to sensitize people about forest fire prevention and ecosystem restoration in lantana-infested areas.

Chief Minister said that forest fire posed a threat not only to the forest wealth but also to the entire regime including fauna and flora by disturbing the bio-diversity, ecology and environment of the region. He said that during summers or in dry months when there is no rain, forests become littered with dry material including pine needles.

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He emphasized that there are indirect effects of forest fire in the form of loss of timber increment, loss of soil fertility, soil erosion, drying up of water sources and loss to biodiversity, informed the government through a release.

The Chief Minister also flagged off a mobile forest fire awareness vehicle to sensitize the community and stakeholders about the effects of forest fires to spread awareness among the people about the preservation and conservation of forest wealth and measures to be adopted to eradicate the obnoxious weeds. The campaign will last for eight days and will conclude on March 28.

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Stressing the importance of public awareness in conserving and protecting forests, which are valuable assets for the State, the Chief Minister said that forest fire incidents, mainly during summers, result in the loss of huge forest wealth worth crores including wildlife.

Forest fires have a detrimental impact on both the ecosystem and the economy, he said and appealed to the people of the State to extend full cooperation to the Forest Department to ensure the success of this campaign.

On the occasion Chief Minister also released a poster on Lantana Removal and a brochure on Forest Fire.

Earlier, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HOFF) Rajeev Kumar welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed about the activities to be carried out during the campaign. He said that 48 stations will be covered for the Ecological Restoration by the publicity team on three different routes in eight days during the campaign.

The vehicles are equipped with informative materials on various aspects of forest fire.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sunder Singh Thakur, MLA, Harish Janartha, Vice-Chairman Himachal Pradesh Forest Corporation, Kehar Singh Khachi, Principal Secretary, Onkar Chand Sharma, CEO CAMPA, Nagesh Kumar and other dignitaries and senior officers were also present on the occasion amongst others. (ANI)

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