Government of Andhra Pradesh
Rc. No. 16284/2003/J.4
Office of the Principal Chief Conservator
of Forests - Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad.
SRI S.K. DAS, I.F.S.,
PRINCIPAL CHIEF CONSERVATOR OF
CIRCULAR NO. 02/J4/2004
Sub: Protection to Natural
forests and Plantations against Fire SMC works in Natural Forests
Use of CCTs as fire lines An integrated approach for more
benefits and better results Certain guidelines issued regarding.
- The Forest Department has been taking up fire tracing
operations as a measure to prevent fire in Natural Forests and
Plantations. The Department has also been taking up creation
and maintenance of fire lines of various widths under different
schemes. Apart from this, firewatchers are being engaged in
many cases for maintenance of fire lines and combating the fires
when it occurs.
- Although these measures have given varying degree of
success, they are quite temporary in nature namely fire lines
are to be formed every season and maintained. More over they
are not so effective nor se they serve any other purpose to
benefit the forests. Although the forest fire is surface
in nature in our country and its colossal damage is not adequately
highlighted, we are at least in a position to realize that it
does not allow the natural regeneration to establish, deforms
the existing trees, accelerates the process of soil erosion
and reduces the soil fertility.
- The forests have been earmarked as the key area for
development not only to ensure the ecological security of the
Nation but also to provide much needed income and employment
to the needy people living in the forest fringe villages. The
subject has therefore been given serious thought in order to
evolve the concept of a multipurpose fire line that will not
only act as an effective fire line but also give substantial
benefit to the existing vegetation directly.
- We have taken up in a big way the Watershed Programmer
(Neeru-Meeru) since the last three years. We are also implementing
the Externally Aided Projects namely Community Forest Management
(CFM) where there is a provision for fire control in the treatment
areas. In addition to this, the Government of India has been
providing fund under fire control schemes as a Centrally sponsored
Schemes. If an element of integration is brought about in these
projects to evolve the most effective fire line in the form
of a CCT with usual septa and natural interruptions depending
upon the topography of the area, the forests will not only be
immensely benefited due to additional moisture available to
the plants but also the fire line in the form of CCT will be
almost of permanent nature.
- With the above idea, the following guidelines are issued:
The provision of creation of fire line and maintenance, available
under fire control schemes of Government of India, CFM, FDA can
be effectively utilized by taking up CCTs. The RIDFIX SMC has
also a provision of digging up of CCTs and in future Neeru-Meeru
schemes also such provision will continue. For the purpose of
a fire line it may be sufficient to have a contour trench to top
width of 1.5 Mtr, bottom width of 1 mtr and a depth of 50 Cms.
This will enable a side slope of 1:1/2, which will prevent the
collapse of the trench. In case of extreme difficulty in getting
a suitable strip of 1.5m, the top width of the trench may be reduced
to 1 m while the bottom width to 0.8m.
The dug out soil should be deposited on the downward slope leaving
a clear Mtr distance from the trench. The deposited soil can be
made into a trapezium shape where sowing of seed of important
species like Pongamia, Neem Palmyrah etc. can be taken up.
At the advent of fire season care should be taken to see that
there is no inflammable material in the one mtr strip between
the trench and the deposited soil. This arrangement will result
in 3.5 m to 4 m wide fire line and it will be sufficient to prevent
the spread of the fire.
- We may face a number of problems in the field while
implementing this programme e.g.
There may be a number of trees on the contour line (fire line).
There may be sharp depression/elevation along the ordinary line
of contour (fire line).
Digging of the contour trench could be done only to a part of
the total length of the forest area due to peculiar topography
these problems can be solved with our commonsense and practical
experience. For example, the problem in (a) above can be solved
by providing septa at the points where trees exist, (b) can be
solved by treating the elevation/depression as the septum and
(c) above can be solved by digging a staggered contour trench
above or below the first line. The septa, elevation/depression
should be cleared of the inflammable material before the fire
- Fire watchers can be engaged for keeping a watch on
fires. They should be applied with simple but effective fire
fighting implements. The main job of the Fire Watchers is to
drag dry the leaves, twigs etc. in the forest floor to the nearest
trench (fire line) and carry out control burning repeatedly
apart from keeping a vigil on the occurrence of fire.
may be relevant to mention here that such an approach has been
adopted for the plantations of Andhra Pradesh forest Development
Corporation (APFDC) wherein the existing net work of trenches
are being utilized as fire line and the fire watchers are sweeping
the dry leaves/litters from the floor into the trenches for carrying
out repeated control burning in the fire season. The whole idea
is to keep the floor of the plantations free from the hazard.
This has proved a total success.
- This system of fire tracing will result in the fire
line (CCTs) playing the duel role of harvesting rain water and
preventing fire. For the large forest area or ours, it is a
gigantic task and it cannot be achieved within a short time.
But with a determined will and a proper planning if we put all
our efforts to achieve the goal, the face of the entire forests
will undergo a sea change within a few years.
most important point to be noted here is that with no additional
cost for any item other whatever is the existing practice, we
get the following benefits by integration of different activities:
Almost a permanent and more effective fire line.
Fire lines in the form of CCTs impounding rain water benefits
the forest all over the area.
Sowing of seed in the dug out earth improves the composition of
The fire lines (CCTs) can be utilized for heaping dry leaves/twigs
for control burning.
- Fire control plans are to be prepared by all Divisional
Forest Officers. Maps showing existing fire lines and lines
to be created should be available with all the Divisional Forest
Officers. Prioritization of fire control lines basing on GIS
maps should be done. This work should be taken up whenever funds
are available from any source. The GIS wing of the Forest Department
has already mapped the forest areas prone to higher risks of
fire. All the Conservators of Forests are requested to follow
these instructions at least in one block to start with in each
division from funds available under different schemes like CFM,
FDA, RIDF and fire control schemes of Government of India.
They are requested
to prepare a time bound programme of 3 years to cover all the
forests blocks in their area. This work has to be taken up on
Sd/- S.K. DAS
CHIEF CONSERVATOR OF FORESTS
the Conservators of forests (Territorial, Wildlife & Planning
to all the Divisional Forests Officers (Territorial, Wildlife
& Planning & Extension)
to all the Additional Principal Chief Conservators of Forests
/ Chief Conservators of Forests for information and taking necessary
action during their tours.
to Circular stock File.
True Copy //
Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests