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Image Source: Times of India

Goa’s worst wildfire in history destruction of rare biodiversity

The Western Ghats, one of the eight biodiversity hotspots of the world, stayed ablaze in the biggest fires the state has ever seen, destroying precious wildlife as Goa’s woods burned for the sixth day in a row.
The fires have been burning for six days, and we’ve only been able to half put them out. Given these conditions, if no new fire starts, we hope to be able to put it out by the start of next week, according to officials.
Range officers and field officers have been instructed to boost their vigilance and stop visitors and residents from entering the protected forests. The forest department has requested an impact assessment by March 14 as well.
To determine the origin of the fire at each location, the forest department has “commissioned an investigation,” according to forest minister Vishwajit Rane. In an effort to put out the blazing fire, the state government requisitioned Navy and Air Force aircraft, which have been using Bambi Buckets. Yet, fighting the flames that Rane believes to be caused by human activity has been difficult because of the strong winds and high temperatures.
“These fires are the worst I have ever seen in Goa, where I have lived since 1977. Evergreen forest fires have been documented all around the world, but they are always human-made. Due to their constant moisture, evergreen forests never catch fire. There must be a few criminals. Perhaps people encroaching more triggered the fires “Richard D’Souza, a former head of the forest conservation, stated. He asserted that observed fires cannot be caused by climate change.
The forest department has established a special control room to track the fires, and a deputy conservator of forests has been assigned to keep an eye on various forest sectors. Some 800 state employees have been sent to fight the fires, along with roughly 50 local volunteers in a remote location close to Mollem.
In order to put out flames, helicopters from the military’s air and naval forces continued to undertake firefighting operations. The IAF’s Mi-17 helicopter, equipped with a Bambi Bucket (formerly known as Large Area Aerial Liquid Dispersal Equipment), joined the fight and dropped about 22,000 litres of water on the areas where fires were raging.
Dousing the fire is currently the top priority, according to a senior forest department officer.

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