Nepal sees 86 forest fires in 24 hours

Nepal sees 86 forest fires in 24 hours

30 March 2012

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Nepal — With the rise in temperature, Nepal, on March 28, saw the highest incidents of forest fires so far this year.

The satellite-based images released by the US-based National Aeronautical and Space Administ-ration (NASA) on March 28 showed active fire locations in 86 forest areas of the country within 24 hours.

Fires engulfed forests in different parts of the country with some of them breaking out close to forests and human settlements, hence critically dangerous, said Sundar Prasad Sharma, coordinator at the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction-South Asia Wildland Fire Network, yesterday. “The fires are likely to engulf other parts as we have not developed response mechanisms to control them,” he said.

The satellite images show that most of the bushfires broke out near the Kathmandu Valley in the Central region and in Eastern districts on March 28. Since February-end, the country has witnessed over 450 wildfire incidents so far.

The inferno was at its worst in 2009, the year when the NASA listed Nepal as a country “most vulnerable to wildfires” and fires killed 58 people. On April 25, 2009, the country recorded the highest number of wildfires in a day with flames spotted in 358 places. Fires have destroyed hundreds of hectares of forestland in recent years in lack of adequate technical and financial resources to deal with this disaster. According to Sharma, the third week of April is the peak point for forest fires and that this month alone amounts for around 83 per cent of the total annual fire cases.

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