Climate & Environment
Wildfire raging inside Gaurishankar Conservation Area in RamechhapAll efforts to contain the inferno, which has been raging for three days, have remained largely unsuccessful, say officials.
Tika Prasad Bhatta
A wildfire has been raging for three days in Gumdel of Ramechhap under the Gaurishankar Conservation Area and it is yet to be brought under control. The inferno had started on Sunday from the Chamru forest.
Chief District Officer Shobhakhar Regmi said that despite various measures in place, the fire is yet to be brought under control thanks to the steep landscape and dense forest cover in the area.
“We are trying to put out the fire with the help of Nepal Army, Nepal Police, forest personnel and locals,” said Regmi, who is also the coordinator of the District Disaster Management Committee. “However, our efforts have been futile so far.”
Regmi said that around 150 locals were involved in bringing the fire under control.
Rokat Basnet, a local man, said that if not controlled immediately, the wildfire may spread to Sano Walding, Chamru and Jyade Kudar areas.
“The fire will also destroy the habitats of some rare animals including the red panda,” Basnet said. “Several yak and sheep sheds in the area are also at risk.”
Locals and police from nearby Bamti village arrived to assist in dousing the wildfire soon after it started. However, efforts to put out the fire were not successful as the flames spread rapidly in dry weather conditions.
On Monday, a Nepal Army unit from Global Hydro was also mobilised.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Hom Bahadur Parajuli of the District Police Office, Ramechhap, said the team of security personnel and locals had somehow managed to bring the fire under control on Monday but it had again engulfed other areas by Tuesday.
“The team of security personnel is still trying to set up a fire line in the affected area,” Parajuli said. “But since the fire has spread to other forest areas, building a fire line has become challenging.”
Umakunda Rural Municipality’s ward 1 office has issued a public notice asking residents to stay alert.
“The fire has gone out of control,” said Ngawa Tindu Sherpa, the ward chair. “If the fire spreads to the Gumdel settlement, 32 families will be at immediate risk.”
Madhu Chhetri, chief at the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project, said wind conditions have hampered efforts to tame the inferno.
“The fire has spread to other areas and has crossed the fire line built earlier,” Chhetri said.