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A Case Study Of Forest Fires In Uttarakhand And Adjoining Areas In India

Arin Gaur, Sapan Kumar, Vandita Srivastava, Sanjeev Kumar, Karan singh and Alok Sagar Gautam


Forest fires have been regular in Uttarakhand for a long time. This is one of the major disasters occur in the time of summers.  We had studied the fire activity for a period of two years and three months (i.e. JAN 2019 to MAR 2021). We have collected satellite data through GIOVANNI and FIRMS NASA using VIIRS, OMI and AIRS aboard Soumi NPP, Aura and Aqua satellites, respectively, for forest fire counts and their respective brightness, NO2, SO2, Ozone, and air temperature, for the rectangular area covered between coordinates 77.583E, 28.733N, 81.016E, 31.466N enclosing Uttarakhand state of India. We observed the year 2019 was a relatively quiet year as far as forest fire incidents are concerned. Fire events were detected in the months of May and June in 2019 but with a very high fire counts of nearly 2000 on some days. On the other hand, due to COVID-19 lockdown in the year 2020, with less human interventions, there are a less number of forest fires in summer. instead more fire events observed in winter due to an instant increase in the variables causing the fire, that continued in 2021 as well. These forest fires affect our atmosphere by releasing various pollutants such as NO2 and SO2 in addition to increasing the air temperature of the surrounding. We tried to understand the causes and the effects of forest fires along with their high activity period in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand having dense forest area that faces a high number of fires annually, either naturally occurring or of anthropogenic. It will help authorities and disaster management group to plan and prevent such events.

Keywords: Forest Fire, SO2, NO2, Ozone, Air Temperature, Covid-19, Uttarakhand.

Posted in Volume 3, Issue No. 3 (July-September 2021)

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