Sri Lanka to combat forest fires with fire belts, education

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to take a series of measures to prevent forest fires, most of which are due to deliberate or accidental human activity, the environmental ministry said.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the minister of Mahweli (River) and Environment, has proposed to set up fire belts, and also education programs to combat forest fires, which had been approved by the cabinet of ministers.

In 2016, over 2,945 hectares of forest had been consumed by fire.

Cattle farmers who set fire to grasslands to get fresh growth which then spread to forests, chena cultivators, fires left behind by hunters are among key triggers of fires.

Railway workers, villagers who start fires near the edge of the forests and travellers who throw away cigarette butts and smouldering matches, give rise to the rest of the fires.

The forest fires expose the ground which are then washed away during the rainy season, clogging up reservoirs. (Colombo/Dec23/2017)

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