Fires in Nepal

Fires in Nepal

15 March 2011

Wildfires burning in high-altitude mountain ecosystems of Nepal, depicted by NASA’s MODIS sensor on Terra satellite, 15 March 2011. For 250m resolution: Click on image.

Increase of Fire Incidents with Increasing Hot Season: Fires in 34 Places
15 March 2011

Nepal — Incidents of forest fires are increasing with increasing dry and hot season. 34 fires are detected in 34 places in 15 March on Tuesday. In many places, fires burning for 3 days are still uncontrolled. Image from NASA shows several hotspots throughout the country. 19 fires are detected within the Langtang National Park alone which are burning for 3 days. Programme Coordinator of Sacred Himalayan Landscape (SHL) Programe in Langtang Mr. Ashok Bania said, ‘300 hectares of forests in Langtang National Parks were completely burnt out’. He added, ‘local effort are going on to fight the fire but there is no any support from the central government’. Likewise, there are 8 fires in Annapurna Conservation Area, 2 fires in Seti zone, 2 fires in Chitawan National Park, and some fires in vicinity of Bardibas area. According to Dang report, Kauwaghari and Karina forests are also burning. Coordinator of Regional South Asia Wildland Fire Network Mr. Sundar Sharma said, ‘Government is still not prepared to fire fighting operation for this fire season’. He added, ‘we are still lacking technological capability and preparedness’.

Satellite-derive map: 31 fires detected over the past 24 hours in Nepal
(Source: NASA’s MODIS Satellite Data open with Google Pro
(FIRMS-MODIS/UMD/NASA). Date: 15 March 2011)

Government has approved ‘The forest Fire management Strategy 2010’ but it is still not yet operational due to lack of implementation plan and programme. Natural disaster mitigation is the responsibility of Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation but there is lack of coordination between them. Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation Mr. Gopal Upadhyaya affirmed that government does not has additional fire fighting preparedness. Due to lack of sufficient safety measures and fire fighting capability, 13 soldiers died while fighting fire in Ramechhap district in 2009 but concerned agency did not make any assessment of that incident.

Community forests of Dand district have initiated constructing fire lines in their forests. Fire line construction between two forests prevent fire spreading from one forest to other’ said, Mr. Hari Bhusal Chairperson of Narti Rangepost level Forest User’s Group Federation. ‘Fire lines construction have been completed in Deoki and Janata Community forests’ said Ranger Mr. Bharat Shrestha.

Unofficial translation by S.P. Sharma

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