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Karnataka reports 21,000 forest fires in past four years

Despite increased patrols, Karnataka has faced 20,933 forest fires from 2020 to 2024, with a record 6,888 fires in 2023 alone. From January to April 2024, there were 4,245 fires. However, since April 16, incidents have declined due to reduced dry vegetation from last year’s extensive fires, with only 33 fires reported recently.

Karnataka reports 21,000 forest fires in past four years vkp
First Published May 17, 2024, 2:51 PM IST

As summer intensifies, the frequency of forest fires in Karnataka continues to rise. Despite the relentless efforts of the state forest department, the number of wildfires has surged, with a total of 20,933 incidents reported from 2020 to 2024.

The forest department has increased patrols to mitigate and quickly extinguish fires. However, these efforts have not curbed the growing number of forest fires, which have been especially prevalent from December to April. In 2023 alone, Karnataka experienced a record high of 6,888 forest fires.

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From January to April this year, there have been 4,245 forest fires. However, since April 16, the frequency of fires has diminished. According to the Forest Department, 33 fires were reported in the districts of Belagavi, Tumkur, Ballari, Chitradurga, and Chikkaballapur from April 16 to the first week of May. This represents a decrease compared to previous years, although February and March of the current year saw a significant number of fires.

The reduction in the number of fires this year can be attributed to the extensive fires last year, which decreased the amount of dry vegetation that fuels wildfires. Officials noted that a massive forest fire occurred in the Bandipur forest area in 2018-19, followed by another major fire last year, contributing to fewer fires this year. This trend appears consistent across other forest regions as well.

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