Srinagar, Nov 22: Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department has come up with a distinctive mobile application to prevent forest fires.
Forest fires in the state, particularly in the valley, have become frequent, especially during winters, causing damage to the habitation of rare wild animals and priceless flora.
This year, dozens of forest fire incidents were reported in Kashmir, more often in Srinagar’s Zabarwan mountain range where more than 60 hectares of the green area was damaged.
Officials sources at the forest department claim that they can now track and instantly attend to forest fire incidents using the “real-time satellite images captured by the application”.
“Internet connectivity is not compulsory for this mobile app. One can report the information of forest fire and upload it on server later on when he/she can have Internet/WiFi connectivity. If Internet connectivity is available at the moment the data will directly upload onto the server,” they said.
While substantiating the official claims, document prepared by the Forest Department said, “Saved Records contains the record of observations collected by field staff which can’t be uploaded on the server due to the network issues or any technical issues. So, one can select the observations from the list and upload it on server when internet connectivity will be available.”
“In case of fire incidence, the frontline staff or any other person present at the spot can simply report the fire by turning on mobile location and it will automatically capture the geo-coordinates of location via satellite,” it said.
“The real time reporting helps to quickly disseminate information from the field staff to control room so that timely action can be taken to gain quick control over the fire” the documents read.
The information registered through the mobile application, as per the documents, will be stored for each forest division and serve as a “database”.
“The coordinates later help in identifying the locations where fire breaks out. Accordingly, the department starts working on that affected area and plan the interventions required so that such incidents don’t occur in future,” it said.
The application called Forest Fire Alert Mobile Application is developed by the Indian Institute of remote sensing/ forest fire reporting (IIRS/FFR). Three fire related incidents have been reported from the time the application was launched.
Environmentalist, Dr Arshid said “The application is an effective tool for enhancing the surveillance over the vulnerable areas. What the department can do is to improve and maintain the fire line within protected forest areas, so that fires do not spread fast.”