More than 450 fire incidents have been reported in various parts of Mizoram claiming at least 7 lives and injuring 11 others since 2019, a fire statistic recorded by Fire and Emergency Services of the state home department said.

According to the statistics, at least 459 fire incidents were reported from January, 2019 to March, 2021.

While 113 of them were house fires, the rest 346 were forest fires.

More than 26.43 crore properties were damaged in the fires and over Rs 26.77 crore worth of properties have been salvaged during the given period, the data revealed.

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With a 54-year-old man being charred to death on April 15 this year, at least 7 people have been killed by fire since 2019, it said.

128 fire incidents, including 82 forest fire, were reported in 2019 and 168, including 131 were forest fire were reported in 2020, it said.

During the current year till March, at least 163 fire incidents, including 133 forest fires, have occurred in various parts of the state.

3 people died of fire in 2019 while 4 others were killed during this year till 15 April.

More than 30 people have been killed in various fire incidents since 2012.

Fire and Emergency Services director C. Lalthanmawia said that the number of forest fire is comparatively high this year against last year.

While forest fire occurred on 50 occasions in the three months between January and March in 2020, the number of forest fire has already reached 133 during January to March this year.

He suspects the practice of slash and burn (jhum) cultivation to be the main cause of forest fires in Mizoram.

At present, there are 14 fires stations across the state and the government is making efforts to set up new fire stations in three new districts- Hnahthial, Saitual and Khawzawl.

In the meantime, several parts of Mizoram are currently engulfed by forest fires.

According to officials, forest fires were reported in at least 5 districts- Lunglei, Lawngtlai,  Hnahthial and Siaha, all in the southern part of the state and in Mizoram’s central Serchhip district, which prompted the state government to seek help from Indian Air Force (AIF).

No casualty and major property loss have been reported, they said.

Lunglei and Lawngtlai districts are the worst affected.

Lunglei district additional deputy commissioner M. Misael said the wildfire which broke out on Saturday morning at Saisih area on the outskirt of Lunglei town has spread to more than 8 localities within the town.

Though the flame is still raging in some surrounding forest areas, settlements and villages are now secure

According to an official statement on Monday, about 90 per cent of the flame in Lunglei was doused till Monday evening after AIF chopper was pressed into operation.

An 8-member IAF team will have a night hold in Lunglei and will resume the operation in the town tomorrow if necessary, it said.

State additional principal chief conservator of forests Keyiekhrie Kire said that about 427.88 hectare of land has been ravaged by the wildfire in Lunglei district since Saturday.

An official of fire and emergency said that at least 12 houses in Bungtlang South village in Lawngtlai district were gutted by fire, which spread from the forest on Sunday.

Champhai district deputy commissioner Maria CT Zuali also said that that forest fires have broken out in more than 7 places in Champhai district the first of being from April 21.

However, the fires are now under control, she said.

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga thanked the Centre for extending help to the state by deploying IAF choppers to douse the forest fires raging in several parts of the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief minister during the day and offered him the Centre’s full support to deal with the forest fireswhich have damaged vast tracts of land and vegetation.

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