Uttarakhand Stories

Harela Society – A Group Saving the Forests of Uttarakhand from Burning into Fumes

by Pragati Chauhan
May 02, 2016

While the forest fires of Uttarakhand are creating havoc in the terrains of Garhwal and Kumaon, few noble souls are getting their hands burned while fighting the ferocious forest fire. To name a few we have, Harela Society whose motto is “Hands Applying Reconciliation Ecology through Local Archetypes”. The Harela Society’s work in extinguishing forest fire in Thalkedar and the other bio-diverse forest covers in and around Pithoragarh is highly commendable. When the Dafaalis, as the people associated with Harela Society would like to call them, spotted fire at the three areas of Thalkedar, they at once geared up to stop the raging forest fire.

“When the volunteers tried to extinguish the fire they couldn’t succeed as the fire was beyond control. After understanding the situation, we recommended the administration to deploy Army, SSB, ITBP and Ecotask force as soon as possible”, says Manu Dafaali the founder of Harela. It was a tough gradient for them as the forest was burning in fumes and the area around it boiled like mercury in the scorching heat of the summer season. Also, the mismanaged spread of Chir and Sal forest are more prone to forest fire and cause great destruction.

The Harela Society has also shared their experience of fighting forest fire on their Facebook Page

The Harela Society battled with the fire and after analyzing the situation they pleaded the administration to deploy the Army. You can check out their Facebook Page to know where else they are working and also check the current updates.

Team Harela is now planning to work on a different module. “Now we are going to focus more on awareness part of villagers who are putting fires (in 99% cases of forest fire). It is always better to prevent fire than fighting against it in the fields. Forests, which are once burned, are again prone to catch fire if villagers don’t get proper education about it. We have also asked administration to take strong action against people who are putting fire in these forests”, says Manu Dafaali.

Apart from this they have also shared a video:

About Harela Society:

Harela Society is a Non- Profit Organization that works in the majestic valley of Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand India. The society focuses on developing, encouraging and supporting local models of nature and environment conservation that are based on community participation, traditional knowledge and applied science. It is an initiative of thoughts shared by similar minded people passionate about nature conservation. It has been working on various issues related to the environment, education and sustainable livelihood options in many villages and cities of Uttarakhand, India since 2012.

Harela Society believes in the approach of Reconciliation Ecology and continuously works on building spatial relationship and environment for local communities, wildlife and its habitat in the Himalayan regions with the support and partnership with different communities, organizations and governments across the country. Harela Society is actively working on issues such as Waste Management, Tree Plantation, conducting Workshops and Awareness Programs on Environment and Sustainable Living. Designing strategies for expanding livelihood options in the villages of Pithoragarh. Organizing Educational Camps, conducting walks, documenting the natural history, lifestyle, wildlife, landscape, culture and community. They also lay emphasis on the production and use of organic products. “Harela” the word symbolizes greenery with prosperity in its root. It is one of the major festivals in Uttarakhand to mark the advent of rainy season and new harvest by planting trees.

If you are also fighting forest fire then take proper precautions such as:

  1. Wear a cap or hat to save your face from the burns,
  2. Carry a water bottle with you,
  3. Wear anti-pollution mask,
  4. Carry a torch,
  5. Wear shoes as your feet may get burns,
  6. Carry First aid box,
  7. Wear dark shades and glasses,
  8. Carry a cotton scarf or quick dry towel,
  9. Carry a sickle or any other sharp tool.

Note: Avoid wearing synthetic clothes that can catch fire.

You can also donate the aforementioned items to the firefighters of Harela Society. Currently, they require electric chain saw cutters.

Contact Harela Society at Manu +91 9897470369 Rakesh +91 8449686269

Get in touch with Harela Socity

Harela Society Official Facebook page: Harela Society

Harela Society Official Website: harela.weebly.com


Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

One Response

Navendu Says

I am from kashipur uttrakhand.
I want to join you for work for one month.
I am working at Afforestt.
It is a afforestation company.
Kindly reply.