Wildfires rage in Palpa forests, leaving human settlements at high riskWildfires recur in the district every year but the authorities concerned and the local units are not well prepared to mitigate the disaster.
The forest fires that broke out at Dandadum Newargaun and Aryaltol in Tansen Municipality-9 a week ago are yet to be contained. A bushfire at Pospakha Community Forest in Tansen has been inching closer to human settlements in the past few days.
Security personnel and local residents, with the help of a fire engine, have doused the fire near a human settlement.
“But the fire is still raging in the community forest,” said Rima Somai, a local woman.
A wildfire broke out in the Somadi area of Rainadebi Chhahara Rural Municipality-2 six days ago. The fire—which is raging in the forests at Tallapani, Daha and Tare hill areas of Somadi—is yet to be controlled. The villagers prevented the fire from entering the settlements but they are unable to control the fires in the forests.
Forest fires are breaking out in Deurali Community Forest of Tansen-5 almost every day. According to the Division Forest Office in Palpa, fires have already damaged around 30 hectares of forestland in Deurali Community Forest this year.
The forest office says that a fire often starts from solid wastes disposed near Bandebi along the Tansen-Tamghas road section and spreads to Deurali Community Forest. The security personnel of Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force as well as forest employees are mobilised almost every day to contain the fires in Deurali.
“The forest office has sent a letter to Tansen Municipality requesting not to burn garbage in its dumping site near Bandebi until mid-May as it leads to forest fires,” said Samyog Basnet, the information officer at the Division Forest Office in Palpa.
Several forests in the Chure and Mahabharat regions of Palpa are also experiencing fires. According to the Division Forest Office, forest fires are currently active at 17 places in the district. The forest office has enlisted 27 out of 81 wards of the district’s 10 local units as areas at ‘high risk’ of forest fire.
Wildfire incidents recur in the district every year but the authorities concerned and the local units are not well prepared to mitigate the disaster.
The Division Forest Office in Palpa, however, claims to have launched various preparedness programmes in coordination with the local units to mitigate the risk of forest fires.
“A meeting regarding the control and management of forest fires was recently held. All 10 local units have been urged to broadcast or telecast fire-related information. We have been launching various awareness programmes on ways to prevent and control such fires as well,” said Dipak Gyawali, chief at the forest office. According to him, all educational institutions in the district have been instructed to raise awareness on the issue.
The Division Forest Office has also formed a rapid response team under the coordination of Upendra Aryal, the chief at Ribdikot Sub-Division Forest Office, to contain forest fires immediately. The team includes representatives from the District Administration Office, Nepal Army battalion, District Police Office, Armed Police Force, Tansen Municipality, community forest users’ group Nepal and the Palpa branch of Nepal Red Cross Society.
Wildfires damage hectares of forestland and affect wildlife and birds in Nepal every year. The wildfire season generally starts in November/December and continues until the onset of monsoon, which usually arrives in the country on June 10.