r Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka

Defence State Minister comments to the media on the current
dry weather conditions and forest fires

March 14, 2024
  • The Disaster Management Center (DMC) is ready to deal with any disaster that may arise due to the prevailing dry weather
  • Inciting forest fires is a punishable offence under the existing legal framework

State Minister for Defence Hon. Premitha Bandara Tennakoon held a media brief yesterday (March 13) in Colombo to comment on the dry weather conditions prevailing in the country and the increase in forest fires in dry weather conditions.

Furthermore, the Met Department forecast stated that the rainfall can be expected at the end of March and in April, however, if there is any decrease in the rainfall, the DMC has plans with the Coordination of its  District Offices and Divisional Secretariat Offices. In addition, the armed forces are constantly ready to help prepare and provide alternative facilities for any inconvenience and calamity that may occur to the people, the Minister added.

Moreover, with the prevailing dry weather, some people tend to hunt animals and it has been observed that certain sections of villagers set fires according to their myth that forest fires can bring rain. Hence,  Minister Tennakoon urged the people of the country to refrain from such extremely destructive activities and requested for everyone's support to control this situation.

Furthermore, requests have been made to the Forest Conservation Department, the Wildlife Department and the Police to impose the maximum punishment within the existing legal framework on those involved in forest fires. He also stated the intention to take necessary steps to amend the law considering the existing weaknesses and the need to update  laws.

According to Met Department information, the North Central, North West, Western, Sabaragamuwa, and Southern provinces have been identified as the hotter provinces and the education authorities have been informed to take care of the health and safety of the school children due to the prevailing dry weather conditions.

Measures have been taken to identify areas with drinking water shortages in hot regions experiencing intense  sunshine and Disaster Relief Centres are on standby to provide water supply to those areas and there is a pre-preparedness program for this purpose. The Minister emphasized that he would discuss with the Water Supply Board and work to provide drinking water.

After this discussion, Minister Tennakoon informed the media regarding the recent increase in forest fires and the measures taken for the same while further educating them on the legal measures taken against those involved in such acts through the existing legal framework.

Considering this situation, due to the dry weather in our country, the DMC, the Armed Forces, the Fire Brigade, the District Secretariats, the Wildlife Department and the Forest Conservation Department have made great efforts in the last few days to suppress the forest fires in the country.

It has been identified that our country located close to the equator receives abundant rainfall and high evaporation as well. In response to a query mady by a journalist, the Minister stated that a formal study should be done in this regard. He furthermore added that steps will be taken to raise awareness through the Ministry of Agriculture about the damage caused by forest fires, to use water from rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. for the agricultural industry in a useful and economical manner, the importance of using technology such as water drip method and the need to innovate the agricultural industry.