Forest fire management related initiatives of Forest Survey of India covers the following areas :
Forest Survey of India (FSI) has been alerting State Forest Departments towards forest fire incidences detected by MODIS sensor on-board Aqua and Terra Satellite of NASA and SNPP- VIIRS sensor, atleast six times in 24 hours. The fire hotspots detected by MODIS (1 km X 1 km resolution) and SNPP-VIIRS (375 m X 375 m resolution) sensors are received at Shadnagar Earth Station (National Remote Sensing Centre) and processed using standard algorithm.
The entire process has been made completely automated which has effectively reduced the dissemination time lag.Forest Fire Alerts are disseminated together with Google Earth compatible KML files through email to the PCCF (HoFF) and Forest Fire Nodal Officers of State Forest Departments.A subscriber who is registered on the FSI website can also avail forest fire alerts as SMS for their area of interest which can now be chosen upto ‘Beat’ level (as per the data available from State).
The LFF programme uses the SNPP-VIIRS sensor (375 m X 375 m resolution) fire hotspot data. The application identifies a candidate large fire through an automated algorithm, which identifies large fire comprising of at least three contiguous VIIRS pixels in any geometry. Once the candidate large fire is detected, it is continuously monitored using data from subsequent satellite passes as long as the fire is active. The continuous tracking of the identified event is achieved by monitoring the estimated fire boundary, which is also continuously updated as per the changes in direction of the fire event. The program scans the area for additional three days after its inactivity to detect dormant fires, if any, restarting in the same area again.
The objectives of this programme are given below:
i. Continuous monitoring and tracking of large forest fires in near real-time.
ii. Timely containment of such fires by SFDs.
iii. Escalation of alerts to higher level for timely additional support from agencies such as District Administration, SDMA, NDMA, Armed forces etc.
iv. Development of a National Large Forest Fire Database for future planning especially in development of State Crisis Management Plans and Working Plans.
v. For planning of burnt area restoration programmes.
Pre-Fire warnings about potential forest fire situation in an area are useful for taking timely preventive measures to avoid their occurrence and related losses. Since 2016, FSI is working on developing danger rating system based on daily weather data, forest fuel load conditions and terrain conditions. FSI is currently working on a system similar to Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS), based on Fire Weather Index (FWI) for fire danger rating in India. Additionally Forest Type Layer information and Forest Fire Archival information are also being used to generate Forest Fire Danger Rating. The parameters are quantified and overlaid on grids of 5 km X 5 km.
FWI consists of six components that account for the effects of fuel moisture and weather conditions on fire behaviour. The first three components are fuel moisture codes, which are numeric ratings of the moisture content of the forest floor and other dead organic matter. Their values rise as the moisture content decreases. The remaining three components are fire behaviour indices, which represent the rate of fire spread, the fuel available for combustion, and the frontal fire intensity; these three values rise as the fire danger increases. All information regarding FWI is downloadable from GEOS-5 daily data from NASA’s GFWED database, which is satellite calibrated weather data. The FWI values from GEOS-5 daily database from NASA’s GFWED database are downloaded and thresholds are customized for different physiographic zones of the country using past archive data on a weekly basis. The Fire Danger Rating is categorized into five classes, which are Extreme Risk, Very High Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk and Low Risk and uploaded as Web Map Service (WMS) in the Van Agni Geo-portal of FSI.
During Fire season, the Extreme Risk and Very High Risk categories of Forest Fire Danger Rating based on FWI values are disseminated as Pre-Fire Alerts (PFA) on every Thursday of the week. PFA’s are disseminated through e-mail as KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file, which is Google Earth compatible file, to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force) and Forest Fire Nodal Officer of the SFD.
FSI Forest Fire Geo-portal, VAN AGNI 3.0(http://vanagniportal.fsiforestfire.gov.in/fsi_fire/fire.html) is an in-house development of FSI, which was launched in 2019. It has been created using Open source Softwares viz. MapServer 7.0.7 & GeoMOOSE 2.9. The portal provides user-friendly interactive viewing where the user can view forest fire related data (forest fires, large forest fire events tracking etc. along with other thematic layers such as Forest administrative boundaries, Forest cover, Forest type, Fire prone forest area and FWI based fire danger rating etc.) pertaining to area of interest. Therefore, FSI Van Agni Geo-portal serves as a single point source for the information related to forest fires in India. A user can visualise Near Real-Time forest fire detected using MODIS & SNPP-VIIRS sensor of last three days in different pixels, Large Forest Fire Events showing active and in-active pixels, Forest Fire Danger Rating is processed and uploaded on every Thursday of the fire season and valid for the ensuing week.
FSI has carried out a study based on spatial analysis of forest fire points detected by FSI in the last 17 years (2004-2021) to identify fire prone forest areas in the country. Extent of forest cover under different fire prone classes has also been determined for each State/UT. Frequency of detected forest fires in an area over a period of time indicates proneness of the area to forest fires. Map showing forest area in different classes of fire proneness can be an effective management tool for controlling forest fires. Such map can be used for optimally utilizing scarce resources available for controlling forest fires in fire season. Increased vigil in highly fire prone forest areas may effectively prevent forest fires. Considering the usefulness of mapping fire prone forest areas, analysis of the detected forest fire points in GIS framework along with a grid coverage of 5 km X 5 km and latest forest cover has been done for the whole country.Highlights of the study:
• Nearly 10.66% area of Forest Cover in India is under extremely to very highly fire prone zone, as per the long-term trend analysis performed by FSI.
• States under North-Eastern Region, showed the highest tendency of forest fire, as these states are falling under extremely to very highly forest fire zone.
• States like Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Manipur in North-Eastern Part of India exhibit the highest forest fire probability in term of its frequency of event occurrence.
• Parts of Western Maharashtra, Southern part of Chhattisgarh, Central part of Odisha and few parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka are showing patches of extremely and very highly fire prone zones.