Wildfire raging in the forests of Manang districtSecurity personnel along with local villagers have been working tirelessly to douse the flames that started in a forest on Thursday.
A wildfire has been raging in the forests of Manang district since Thursday. According to local residents, the fire is burning across the Darbar forest area that lies in the border of Ghyaru Ward No. 2 and Ngangwal Ward No. 3 of Manang Ngisyang Rural Municipality.
The fire was yet to come under control until Saturday evening.
“On Saturday, 70 individuals, including the local residents and personnel from the Nepal Army and Nepal Police, tried to douse the fire. But they did not succeed in it,” said Sonam Ghale, secretary at the Annapurna Conservation Area Management Committee.
According to him, security personnel also drained out the water from an irrigation canal and carried it in vessels to douse the fire but to no avail.
“The fire had started from the forest of Ghyaru, which falls under the protected area of the Annapurna Conservation Area,” said Ghale.
In January, around 700 hectares of forest cover was destroyed by a wildfire that spread in the forests of Thanchok and Kote for two months. The forest cover also fell under the protected area of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.
According to Lekhnath Gautam, chief at the area conservation office of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project in Manang, the wildfire that’s raging in Manang at present has already destroyed vegetation in around 10 hectares of land.
“There are pine trees, locally known as Gobre Salla and Dhupi Salla, where the bushfire is going on. It’s very difficult to control the fire, as pine trees are highly flammable,” said Gautam. “The fire was almost contained on Thursday evening but raged on from Friday morning.”
Chairman of Ngisyang Rural Municipality Kanchha Ghale said that the people’s representatives, local villagers and the security personnel of Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been working tirelessly to control the fire but to no avail.
Authorities are concerned since the nearest human settlement from the site of the fire is just two hours away.
“As many as 33 security personnel have been mobilised to control the fire. They were joined by the local people in their efforts to douse the fire on Saturday,” said Chief District Officer of Manang Bishnu Lamichhane. According to him, their efforts were hampered by strong winds in the area.
“No human casualties have been reported so far. But the fire may proceed towards human settlements and kill wildlife,” said Lamichhane. “The security personnel and the villagers will intensify their efforts to contain fire on Sunday.”