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In a significant move to combat forest fires more effectively, the Coimbatore district forest department in Tamil Nadu has introduced advanced technology and equipment. N Jayaraj, the district forest officer, announced the procurement of a high-capacity drone and an array of firefighting gadgets designed to enhance the department’s response capabilities.

Advanced Technology for Firefighting

The department’s arsenal now includes a drone valued at Rs 7.5 lakh, capable of lifting up to 10kg, which will be pivotal in extinguishing fires in hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, the purchase of 43 specialized gadgets, such as fire suits, fire safety spectacles, air blowers, fire-retardant suits, portable fire extinguishers, and fire extinguisher balls, marks a significant upgrade in the equipment available to frontline staff. Jayaraj underscored the versatility of these tools, highlighting their potential in both firefighting and logistical support to field personnel.

Enhancing Frontline Staff Safety and Efficiency

The forest department has taken a comprehensive approach to safeguard its frontline staff. The introduction of fire suits and customized backpacks, capable of holding 5 to 10 litres of water, ensures that staff can stay hydrated and protected while battling blazes. The innovative fire extinguisher balls, lightweight and portable, offer a new method for early fire suppression, especially in areas that are difficult to access. This strategic investment in safety and efficiency underscores the department’s commitment to not only fighting fires but also protecting its personnel.

Proactive Measures and Future Plans

With the deployment of 30 fire watchers and 106 personnel from the anti-poaching watchers (APWs) and rapid response teams (RRTs), the department is proactively creating fire lines across a stretch of 418km, of which 150km have already been completed. This preparatory work, combined with the new equipment, positions the Coimbatore forest department to act swiftly and effectively in the event of a forest fire. Jayaraj expressed optimism that these advancements will significantly improve the department’s firefighting capabilities, reflecting a forward-thinking approach to environmental management and protection.

As the Coimbatore district forest department embraces technology and innovation, its enhanced firefighting strategy not only promises greater efficiency and safety but also sets a precedent for forest conservation efforts nationwide. This initiative reflects a growing awareness of the critical need for advanced tools and tactics in the fight against forest fires, safeguarding not only the natural environment but also the lives of those on the frontline.

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