On April 28, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of smoke and fires in Nepal. The fires in April were particularly widespread in April 2016. Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fires.
Various news from Nepal indicate that the forested area affected by wildfires has exceeded 1 million hectares (ha).
Over 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last weekOver 350 forests caught fire every day last week
Over 350 forests caught fire every day last week
On Sunday, fires raged in 457 forests across the country, the highest number recorded in the last 20 years.
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests across the country have been gutted in the last one week, with over 350 forest fire incidents recorded everyday during the last one week from several places in the country.
Regional South Asia Wild Land Fire Network Foundation, which monitors wildfires in the South Asia region, said that 457 incidents of forest fires were recorded on Sunday in Nepal.
“Over 350 forest fire incidents have been recorded every day on an average for the last one week,” Sundar Sharma, the foundation’s coordinator, said. He, however, said that the foundation has yet to ascertain the exact areas were forest fires have occurred this year.
He said that the fires destroy not only forests but also entire ecology, wildlife and rare herbs. So far this year, the fires have claimed one child, injured half a dozen people and gutted over five dozen homes.
Sharma has asked concerned authorities to bar people from entering forests for the next two weeks, a period with high possibilities of forest fires.
“Next two weeks is the peak time for forest fires in Nepal. I request the concerned authorities to declare high alert and prevent people from entering the forests,” said Sharma.
In 2009, 59 people, including some Nepal Army personnel, who were deployed to douse fire, were killed. Several studies conducted by the government as well as non government sector have shown human negligence as the main cause behind the forest fires.
Fire outbreaks on Sunday afternoon have engulfed eighteen houses in Simalpani and Jaluke villages in Arghakhanchi district.
The forest fire that spread to nearby settlement reduced houses belonging to 18 households to ashes. The 18 houses that were burnt included 11 houses from Jaluke, and seven in Simalpani.
Some of fire victims are compelled to live under open skies while others have sought shelter in neighboring villages.
Although there is no report of any human death or injury, some domestic animals were killed in the fires.
Due to strong wind, the forest fire had spread to the human settlements, fire victim Gyan Bahadur Neupane informed.
A joint effort by Nepal Army, Nepal Police and locals had doused the fire late at night on Sunday. Local fire victims have blamed authorities’ lack of interest in controlling the fire. The forest fire has also destroyed wild animals, birds and herbs.
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