Wildfire sweeps through 77,000ha of forest land

- AMRITA ANMOL, BUTWAL

Apr 17, 2016-

Forest fires that started a few days ago have spread across more than 77,000 hectares of forest land in six districts in Lumbini zone. Fires in several places have yet to be contained. 

The raging fire has mainly damaged the forests in Chure range and adjoining areas close to the East-West Highway.  District Forest Officer of Rupandehi Indra Prasad Pachhai attributed the growing number of forest fires this year to long dry spell, windy weather and people’s carelessness. He pointed out the difficult terrain, limited resources and unmanaged forest as challenges facing them in containing fires.  

According to the forest office data, the fire has affected around 77,000 hectares 

of forest land in the past one week. Nawalparasi district is the worst hit, with the firing sweeping through 40,000 hectares out of the total 122,365 hectares of forest land in the district. The raging inferno has affected 19,000 hectares of forest land in Arghakhanchi.In Palpa, a middle-aged man was killed and two 

others sustained serious injuries while trying to bring a raging fire in the community forest under control last week. The bushfire has destroyed 33 houses and 35 animal sheds in Lumbini zone. 

The authorities concerned have mobilised squads comprising personnel from district forest office, forest consumer group and security agencies in each district 

to contain the fire. However, their efforts have been less effective due to limited resources. 

Single fire truck manning 5 municipalities

KAMAL PANTHI

GULARIYA, APRIL 16

People in Bardiya are worried about the prospect of fires destroying their homes and property as there is only one fire truck for five municipalities in the district.

Although there have been a dozen fire incidents in the district since mid-March, the authorities are unprepared for tackling fires on time. Only Gulariya Municipality has a fire engine. There are no firefighting equipment in Babai, Rajapur, Basgadhi and Sanoshree Taratal.

Executive Officer of Rajapur Municipality Chetan Khatri said the government has directed them to reach out to neighboring municipalities in the event of an inferno. He added that the office has no funds to buy a fire truck. Khagendra Bhusal of Sanoshree Taratal-4 thinks the municipality has not taken initiatives to by a fire engine. 

“Villagers have lost properties worth millions of rupees in blazes,” he said.

Executive Officer of Gulariya Municipality Dharmaraj Neupane said the single fire engine has been used in the whole district.

Published: 17-04-2016 09:14

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