217 forest fires this year

217 forest fires this year

24 April 2011

published by www.thehimalayantimes.com

Nepal — The nation witnessed 217 forest fires so far this year*, which is the highest on record for a year.

“The satellite image showed that there were 217 forest fires across the nation,” said Sundar Prasad Sharma, Coordinator, UNISDR-Regional South Asia Wildland Fire Network. The data was retrieved from NASA’s MODIS Satellite, which monitors the global forest fire incidents.

Generally, forest fires are high between January and April. The peak month in Nepal is April. “The season was delayed by about two weeks this year and might extend till the end of May, but the next few weeks may be disastrous as it’s the peak time,” added Sharma.

The government developed Forest Fire Management Strategy in 2010 after a disaster in 2009 where 13 Nepali Army personnel were charred to death at Srithandanda jungle in Ramechhpa while dousing the fire.

The ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation has no rescue plan in place and it lacks equipment and workforce to tackle the problem. “It needs huge resources but the ministry has nothing more than the strategy,” said a official at the ministry.

* Note by GFMC: Correction of an error by the Himalayan Times. The number of 217 occurred during 23 April 2011 alone – on one single day.

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