Alerts to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department on the Kurangani Forest Fires

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On the recent Kurangani Forest Fires in Tamil Nadu, a Chennai based publication on 13th March, 2018 quoting the Director General Forests and Special Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), had reported that fire-alerts of Forest Survey of India did not go to the forest department of Tamil Nadu. The office of the Director General Forests and Special Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change refuting this had said that this had been misrepresented.

It was pointed out that as a matter of fact two emails providing the co-ordinates of forest fires in Kurangani Forest Beat were sent to the nodal officer of Tamil Nadu State Forest Department on 11.3.2018 at 2.29 pm and 3.37 pm. The alerts pertaining to two satellite passes (MODIS and SNPP) were auto-processed after receiving information from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad, and email alerts were sent to the nodal officer of Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

The Director General, Forest Survey of India (FSI) had informed the Ministry that in collaboration with NRSC, Hyderabad, FSI always provides Forest Fire alerts to State Forest Departments through email and SMS to aid in better fire management at the field level. Automation of the whole process including night-time fire alerts has been carried out by FSI which has led to significant reduction in the time taken for data processing and sending alerts.

Details of such Automated Forest Fire alerts pertaining to Kurangani Forest Fire disseminated by FSI on 11thMarch, 2018 to the Nodal officer, Tamil Nadu Forest Department are as below:

S.No Time of fire detection by Satellite Time of Receipt of Fire Alert data from NRSC Time of Dissemination of processed Fire Alerts email to Nodal officer Tamil Nadu  SFD
1 MODIS 13 57 Hrs 14 20 Hrs 14 29 Hrs
2 SNPP 13 59 Hrs 15 10 Hrs 15 37 Hrs

The Director General Forests and Special Secretary (MoEF&CC), Shri Siddhanta Das said that he was only saying that he was not aware of the factual position as to whether the alerts were properly received by the State Forest Department and would be able to confirm dispatch of such alerts only after speaking to the Director General, Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun from where the alerts are generated.

Released by- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.