Nepal — SANKHUWASABHA: With the onset of summer, wildfire has taken a toll on Sankhuwasabha folks. Though 30 per cent of total national and community forests have already burnt down to cinders in the district, no concrete initiatives have been taken to control the conflagration and save rest of the forests.
Now, with fire spreading every day, the settlements are at risk. With the locality getting polluted with smoke, locals are facing respiratory problems, said Bhakta Bahadur Shrestha, Headmaster, Wana Higher Secondary School.
The fire started off at over a dozen community and national forests including Wana, Syabun, Dhupu, Jaljala, Sabhapokhari, Mawa VDCs a week ago but it is still out of control.
Bipin Rai, a local of Syabun VDC, said they had been facing difficulty in carrying out their day to day activities. He complained that they were compelled to live in suffocation caused by dense smoke spreading in the settlements.
Suresh Karki, resident of Wana VDC, said wildfire had destroyed the habitats of wildlife and birds. Concerned authorities, however, have made no efforts to protect the area where rare wildlife species inhabitate, Karki said. According to the locals the raging fire has already destroyed valuable herbal plants worth millions.
Padam Prasad Dahal, District Forest Officer, said the office didnt have adequate resources to control the fire. Kedar Thapa, Assistant Police Inspector of Wana, said police personnel too had been suffering from fever, common cold and headache because of the smoke.
Chitrarekha Adhikari, Co-coordinator, Civil Society Sankhuwasabha, accused the government of being indifferent towards the issue.