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ODRAF Teams Deployed to Combat Forest Fires in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In response to escalating forest fire incidents in sensitive wildlife areas of Odisha, the state government has taken proactive measures by deploying Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams across seven strategic locations.

Despite earlier efforts by forest personnel and fire services to contain the blaze, the forest fires persisted, prompting the government to mobilize additional resources. ODRAF teams have been dispatched to Baliguda, Phulbani, Banei, Parlakhemundi, Kalahandi, and Similipal to bolster frontline efforts in combating the forest fires.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Devidutta Biswal, underscored the urgency of the situation, stating, “Efforts are underway to swiftly control the forest fires. The deployment of ODRAF teams is part of our concerted strategy to tackle this challenge effectively. Moreover, extensive awareness campaigns are being conducted to educate local communities about the measures being taken to mitigate forest fires.”

The severity of the situation is evident from the data, with Biswal noting, “Last year, forest fires were detected at 32,500 points in the Similipal reserve by April. This year, we have already observed fires in over 13 locations within the second-largest biosphere reserve in Asia.”

Seven ODRAF teams were tasked with reporting to the Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) of the respective forest divisions for immediate response duty. The teams are equipped with essential firefighting gear and personal protective equipment (PPE) to effectively combat the forest fires and safeguard biodiversity-rich areas.

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