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Widespread forest fire across country, maximum in Kailali, Western Nepal

(Forest fire in Golechaur Community Forest, Pathivara-7 in Nepal. Photo credit: Nepalese Army)

KATHMANDU: More than thousands of forest fire have been reported in various places across the country in the last 24 hours, becoming a cause of concern as these incidents cause damages to people and forest riches.

The data compiled from the pictures sent by the NASA’s MODIS satellite have shown that forests fires were seen raging in altogether 1,670 places across 35 districts of Nepal. Kailali is the district where the highest cases of forest fire have been reported standing at 417.

According to the data analyzed based on those pictures, as many as 191 cases of forest fires were in Kanchanpur, 118 in Dadheldhura, 175 in Dang, 146 in Surkhet and 133 in Bardiya.

Similarly, in Salyan, a total of 100 forest fires were seen, 67 in Doti, 55 in Banke, 50 in Arghakhanchi, 41 in Achham, 23 in Pyuthan and 14 each in Baitadi and Dailekh, nine in Dhading and seven each in Sindhupalchowk and Dhading.

Under-Secretary at Ministry for Forest and Environment and forest fire expert Sundar Sharma said that cases of forest fire would mostly occur in the second week of May in Nepal.

Last year, forest fires were reported in 1,871 places during the same period. Although the cases of forest fire have gone up in the recent years, no huge damages were reported this year. Instructions have been issued to the concerned Forest Division Offices to observe precaution regarding flames.

However, the Ministry admitted that all three levels of government lacked tools and human resources to tackle forest fire.

Sharma reasoned that global warming emanated from climate change had contributed to forests catching fire in the recent years.

The Fire Control Room with fire alert system was established recently to prevent the damage from forest fire but it was not operative yet.

The pictures of forest fire sent by the NASA satellite through Google earth are authentic to a large extent.

Surprisingly, of the total, 64 per cent forest fire were from deliberate burning by grazers, poachers while 32 by gross negligence while four per cent were attributed to burning from various sources. Farmers traditionally use fire as a tool for burning agricultural residues-straws, stalks, husks etc to prepare their farms for next crop cultivation.

(Forest fire in Golechaur Community Forest, Pathivara-7 in Nepal. Photo credit: Nepalese Army)

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