Shimla, Mar 21 (PTI) On the occasion of International Day of Forests, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Tuesday launched an awareness campaign to prevent forest fires and restore the ecosystem in lantana-infested areas.

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The campaign ‘Hategi Fulnu, Lautegi Charagah' aims at sensitising people about forest fire prevention and the bad effects of lantana weed -- a flowering shrub that infests pastures and farmland and leads to breathing issues.

Sukhu said that forest fire incidents, mainly during summers, result in the loss of huge forest wealth worth crores including wildlife.

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There are indirect effects of forest fire in the form of loss of timber and soil infertility besides drying up of water sources and loss of biodiversity, he said.

The chief minister also flagged off some mobile forest fire awareness vehicles to sensitise the community and stakeholders about the effects of the forest fires and measures to be adopted to eradicate the obnoxious weeds.

The campaign will conclude on March 28.

Sukhu appealed to the people of the state to extend full cooperation to the Forest Department to ensure the success of this campaign.

Earlier, principal chief conservator of forests Rajeev Kumar 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, he had said.

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