The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday chalked out a strategy to control forest fires in the state in view of the ongoing summer season.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Dr Savita held a virtual review meeting with officials of all forest circles on preparedness for forest fires in the state.

“The State Forest department is well prepared to fight the forest fires and rapid forest fire fighting force and rapid response teams have been set up at forest division and range levels.

Approximately 40,000 men-days of fire watchers would be engaged by the department, in addition to existing frontline staff for preventing and combating forest fires.

Besides, the state disaster control room with toll free number 1077 at state level and 1070 at district level are made operational for reporting of the forest fire by the local community,” she added.

Dr Savita said messages regarding forest fire had been shared with the members of the rapid forest fire fighting force, in which approximately 50,000 volunteers had already been registered.

In addition, awareness to the community was also conducted through Nukkar Nataks, songs, speeches and other activities at different locat ions in the s tate. Besides, a massive state level awareness program was also conducted at 45 places from 10 to 17 March, 2021, she said.

She further stated that the Forest department had created forest fire lines and did control burning and also constructed water storage structures in the forest areas to combat forest fires.

Additional multi-utility vehicles and water loaded tankers in 80 fire sensitive ranges had been engaged for three months.

“The matter regarding Standard Operating Systems (SOPs) for requisition of helicopter services for dousing the forest fires have been sent to the state government for approval,” she added.