I often visit the local hills in Pune, which are known as Vetal hill, or Tekdi. They are the most visited by nature enthusiasts, joggers, trekkers, and those who like to spend some time breathing fresh air for few hours, which is so rare in the city nowadays.
But I was shocked today to see that the dry grass has been allowed to burn inside the reserved forest or green spaces. Usually, in India, the farmers, have a practice to burn the stubble to reduce time to replace the land with a new crop. And that creates air pollution and smog in the capital of India, for which it has been notoriously infamous.
But burning the dry grass in the grassland or forest is something very dangerous for the ecology as well for the air quality of the city. Many times dry grass catch fire due to summer heat, or even due to mistaken use of cigarettes by un-responsible people. But the forest authorities have also turned a blind eye towards this, and have let the fire burn the grass to such an extent that the entire grassland is burnt as seen today in the below pics.
Due to the grass being burnt, the surrounding trees are also affected, even to the extent of being burnt completely. I saw a volunteer trying hard to stop the inside of the trunk of a neem tree from catching fire. As the hill does not have water sources, I immediately gave my water bottle to atleast wet the trunk to stop the fire. But the water was less, and hence, we had to use dry sand/mud to extinguish the fire.
Not long before, the grassland used to look green or even dry, but beautiful. It hosts many birds nests, insects, squirrels and rabbits. But now, after burning the grass, they have deprived them of their homes.
Below are the pics showing the beautiful grass before.
Hence, its high time that we should take care of nature, and not let them burn like this. Forest fires are a matter of concern not only for the environment, but also for our well being. We have to be cautious for not using cigarette or any thing that can catch fire. Also, laws should be made to avoid purposefully burning of the dry grass, whether in the fields or grassland.