Summer showers help keep away Himachal forest fires

Himachal Pradesh’s forest department is heaving a sigh of relief as frequent showers this summer have helped keep down forest fires extremely low and help save the rich and varied timber wealth of the hill state.

Forests in the mid and lower hills of the hill state are prone to catching big fires from April to June keeping forest department officials worried and on their toes.

Officials say last year’s summer 7,500 hectares of forests were affected by fires,but this year barely 970 hectares were damaged during the same period.

While the forest department is patting itself for keping down these fires others say this is mainly due to help from the rain gods.

The dry spells in summer usually last for several weeks,this dries up the forest floors making them prone to catching and spreading fire quickly.These fires spread rapidly and are hard to put out in the difficult and dry mountain terrain.

Besides disturbing the fragile flora and fauna these blazes also cause huge damage to standing trees.Himachal Pradesh has one of the richest and most varied forests in northern India particularly Himalayan pine variety which is highly valued for its superior timber.

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