Authorities struggling to contain forest fire inside Rara National Park

04 April 2021

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NEPAL – Authorities are struggling to contain a forest fire inside Rara National Park that has already spread across 50 hectares of forestland in the last three days.

According to the park officials, the fire that started on Monday has already destroyed many medicinal herbs and affected wildlife inside the park.

Security personnel, park employees and locals have been deployed to control the fire. But their efforts have not yielded the desirable results so far.

“The forest floor is covered with dry woods and leaves. They have only fuelled the fire rendering our containment efforts useless,” said Badri Binod Dahal, the conservation officer of Rara National Park.

Difficult terrain and the lack of water access have also hampered the efforts to control the fire.

“We are relying on tree branches and soil to put out the fire,” said Dahal. “Around 30 security personnel and park employees have been working during nights to put out the fire.”

Officials say most fire incidents inside the park’s forest are caused by humans.

“We have had similar incidents in the past as well. They are caused by animal herders either throwing cigarette butts and match sticks or their failure to properly put out the fire that they have made in the forest,” said Dahal.

Two years ago, a forest fire in the Lamachaur area had also destroyed forest resources and killed animals.

Rara National Park covers 160 square kilometres including Khatyad Rural Municipality, Chhayanath Rara Municipality and Kanaka Sundari Rural Municipality in Jumla.

It is home to 272 bird species and 51 mammal species, including the endangered red panda.

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