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Day 74 – Q 1.What are the factors behind Australia’s bushfires? Are such incidents prevalent in India? What is the strategy to mitigate bushfires/ forest fires? Discuss.

1. What are the factors behind Australia’s bushfires? Are such incidents prevalent in India? What is the strategy to mitigate bushfires/ forest fires? Discuss. 

ऑस्ट्रेलिया के जंगलों में आग लगने के पीछे कौन से कारक हैं? क्या भारत में इस तरह की घटनाएं होती हैं? जंगल की आग को कम करने के लिए क्या रणनीति है? चर्चा करें।


Bushfires are a natural result of the hot, dry conditions of Australia’s environment, particularly over summer. Importantly, they’re also a normal part of Australia’s ecosystem, with several native plants relying on them to regenerate and grow.


Factors behind Australia’s bushfires 

  • Available fuel –volume of bark, leaf litter and other natural dry material that is consumed by the fire as fuel. 
  • Temperature and dryness – Hot, dry fuel easily ignites. Australia’s fire season is far more damaging in summer, when rain is scarce. Fires are also encouraged by hotter temperatures, because fuel will naturally be closer to its burning point, making ignition easy.
  • Wind speed – Stronger winds bring more fuel into the path of fires, allowing them to grow bigger and spread. Winds are also able to create new fires via the transference of embers, which then ignite other patches around the original fire. This process is known as ‘spotting’ and can happen up to 30km away from a fire.
  • Humidity – Plants become easily flammable at lower humidity because they lack the moisture to combat the heat.
  • Slope angle – Fires operate on a convention and radiation basis, meaning that bushfires travelling uphill will spread faster than they do travelling downhill. Steepness is a factor in this, and may aid fire advancement

While all of these factors play a part in the ignition and spread of fires, they are aided by the rise of climate change, which has led to the drier, hotter conditions where bushfires thrive.

Forest fires in India

  • The number of forest fires shot up to 14,107 from 4,225 between November 2018 and February 2019 according to the Real Time Forest Alert System of the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
  • In February 2019, massive forest fires broke out in numerous places across the Bandipur National Park of the Karnataka state in India. While, forest fires very often occur naturally in the dry summer months, before the rains arrive; the carnage recently in Bandipur shows they are becoming more and more unpredictable with each passing year.
  • The FSI data reveals that, in 2019, large wildfires raged across several states. Between January 1, 2019, and February 26, 2019, 209 out of 558 forest fires occurred in the five southern states of India — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala. That is 37% of the fires.

Strategy to mitigate bushfires/ forest fires

  • Construction of narrow lanes in the forest, at crucial junctions, to restrict forest fires.
  • Special trainings to National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force in combating fire disasters.
  • Coordination among various agencies like forest department, NDRF, state government, and Environment ministry to put off the fire at early stage itself. 
  • Scientific waste management techniques to avoid fires due to Methane Gas evolution, like the one happened in Deonar, Mumbai.    
  • Pre-fire alerts – alerts to concerned departments for immediate action about fire-prone forest areas.
  • National action plan for forest fires.
  • Satellite tracking of vulnerable areas, training local forest dwellers to be on vigil and sensitizing them against harmful practices.


Forest fire causes imbalances in nature and endangers biodiversity by reducing faunal and floral wealth. Traditional methods of fire prevention are not proving effective and it is now essential to deal with it holistically.  

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