A forest fire raging in the hills of South Mizoram has spread to towns and villages of two neighbouring districts - Lunglei and Lawngtlai. On April 27, even though the fire was almost under control in Lunglei, Serchhip and Hnahthial districts, it raged on in some parts of Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district. Due to the continuous efforts by the locals, along with assistance from Indian Air force (IAF) helicopters, personnel from the paramilitary Assam Rifles and Border Security Force and state policemen, the fire in Lunglei district has been under control since April 26.
The districts of Aizwal and Lunglei in Mizoram were among 29 of the most fire-prone districts in India, according to Forest Fire Disaster Management 2014, a report prepared by the National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi in 2014. Even though the state’s fire season is from February to May, the maximum incidents of fire are reported in the months of April and May, according to the 2014 report. Major reasons for forest fires in the state include the practice of jhum (slash and burn or shifting cultivation), collection of non-timber forest produce, burning farm residues and clearance of land for various purposes.
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