Nepal — Forest fires that spread in various parts of the country in recent days have destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, besides claiming many lives.
Regional Forest Directorate, Pokhara, said more than 72,000 hectares of forest in 13 districts of the Western Region have been destroyed. Most of the fires are yet to be doused. On Saturday, five persons were killed in a forest fire in Hastichaur of Gulmi district.
“Dry weather conditions and the wind have helped the fire spread and worse destruction and more deaths can be expected,” said Kiran Prasad Koirala, an officer at the directorate.
According to the office, Gorkha district tops the list with 28,000 hectares forest land destroyed, while Syangja has incurred the least — 63 hectares forest — destruction.
While hundreds of species of flora and fauna have been directly affected, the wildfire has also contributed to environmental pollution, Koirala added.
“Continuous drought for months and windy weather have made things worse,” he said.
Although there are no independent reports as to who are responsible for the fire, forest officials suspect poachers and shepherds could have started the fire, which the wind fanned.