Massive forest fires in Chure area rage onAn inferno has been engulfing the slopes of the Chure area for the past five days, according to the Division Forest Office (DFO).DFO officials say the wildfire in the Chure area started due to human negligence.
An inferno has been engulfing the slopes of the Chure area for the past five days, according to the Division Forest Office (DFO).DFO officials say the wildfire in the Chure area started due to human negligence. Massive forest fires have taken over various national and community forests in Chure of Kailali and Mohanyal Rural Municipality in the last five days. Locals said that Bhawar area has also been affected by the raging fire. Various sections of the Seti Community Forest in Godavari Municipality-4 have been engulfed by forest fires.
According to locals, forest fire has been raging continuously at Sahajpur in Khani Danda for the last three days. They said that Pine and Saal trees in some parts of the Basanta Bio Corridor in Tarai have been burnt to the ground. Kailash Kumar Joshi, former chairman of Teghari Community Forest, said, “Authorities have not taken any initiative to control the forest fires. Locals in the surrounding areas have been compelled to either move away or risk their lives near the fire.”
The end of April heralds the dry season, leaving forests vulnerable to outbreaks of fire. However, the government’s preparedness in fighting forest fires year after year has been negligible. “Some fires in the forest start naturally but most are caused due to sheer human negligence. Discarding cigarette butts without properly stubbing them is one of the main reasons of forest fires,” said Joshi.Ram Chandra Kandel, division forest officer, said that he has sent a team from the DFO to douse the forest fires.
“It’s difficult for our team to take the Chure area fire under control because of the steep terrain. The locals are also helping us to kill the fire,” Kandel said.According to unofficial estimates, the country has been losing some 200,000 hectares of forest area annually since 2005. In 2016, Nepal lost nearly 1.3million hectares of forest area in fires that killed 15 people. In 1990, Nepal’s total forest cover accounted for 45.4 percent, but it quickly declined to 39.6 percent by 2000. Destruction caused by forest fires has also led to an increase in the risks of landslides and soil erosion. Currently, the country boasts 6.6 million hectares of forest area after decades of community and state-led afforestation efforts. But officials say the months from February to May are prone to forest fires, some of which can turn deadly and pose grave risks. Forest fires also contribute significantly to air pollution by generating haze and smog, which have direct effects on environmental health.