Forest Fires in India: A Review


Reuben Sewak, Mehak Vashisth, Lovleen Gupta
Department of Environmental Engineering, Delhi Technological University, Delhi – 110042, India.


A forest fire has become extreme and has increased in frequency worldwide with India being no exception. In view of this, the present-day knowledge about the forest fire condition in India has been reviewed. The forest cover in India is divided into four clusters namely North Himalayan, North-Eastern, Southern, and Central. Of these clusters, it has been found that though the North-Eastern cluster encompasses the maximum area (55%) of all the clusters in India, it accounts for a meager 16% of the burnt forest area. The central cluster has been found to be the most vulnerable to forest fires as ~56% of the total burnt area lies in this region, though it covers only 28% of the forest cover. In North-East fires tend to concentrate in a smaller area that is subject to repeated burns whereas in Central and Southern India they are more expensive. The impacts of forest fires on biodiversity, forest species, climate change, and soil characteristics in India are presented and various strategies adopted by the Indian government in order to detect and control the forest fires are presented. Additionally, the economic impact of forest fires is estimated to be over INR 1101 crore/year.