FSI makes forest fire alerts available to Forest Deptt

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Jan 2019 10:08:07


By Ramesh Marulkar,

Forest Survey of India (FSI) has made available near real-time forest fire alerts to Maharashtra Forest Department. It is providing information on fire alerts for the first time in the country. Praveen Srivastava, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (IT&Policy) ‘The Hitavata’ on Saturday that the service was started two days ago on Geo-spatial platform of Forest Department.

The department has set up Command and Control Room at its Headquarters in Nagpur and it is now proceeding towards real-time governance.  Sudhir Mungantiwar, Forest Minister, who also holds finance portfolio, has taken this initiative.

The department has been working with FSI for last one year for providing web map service facility about forest fire alerts. This would enable it to have near real-time information on its own geo-portal on occurrence of forest fires. This will help the department swing into action and mitigate damage, Srivastava added.

Subhash Ashutosh, Director of FSI, had visited the Command and Control Room in Nagpur recently. The forest authorities apprised him of the Information Technology preparedness to address emerging challenges of forest fires. They requested him to provide pre-fire alerts of last two years.

Primarily, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) gets forest fire alerts from Suomi National Polar orbiting Partnership (SNPP) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite sensors consumed by FSI. In-turn alerts are sent every two hours on a near real-time basis in the form of web service to Forest Department’s geo-portal, Srivastava pointed out.

With this, forest authorities came to know of a forest fire in Junnar in Pune district on Friday at 5 pm. Those officers having user ID and password will have an access to alerts on forest fires.

Forest fire alerts can be viewed on Geo-spatial platform with all details like date, time and compartment level locations. The authorities have advised all field level officials to keep strict vigil to mitigate damage due to fires.

Forests are classified in four categories:

Dense forests, modernly dense, open forests and scrubs. FSI has already classified forests in these categories and the forest cover thematic maps have been shared with the department. These thematic maps overlaid on compartment level boundaries of department help the department in assessing compartment-wise forest cover-wise fire incidence or whether forest fires have occurred outside forest boundaries, Srivastava added.