Raging wildfires in districts threaten human settlements

Raging wildfires in districts threaten human settlements

12 Marzo 2013

published by www.ekantipur.com

Nepal — A massive wildfire that broke out at Ullerikhanda along the Annapurna trekking route has destroyed a large area of a rhododendron forest.

The wildfire in Myagdi district, which broke out on Saturday afternoon, was still raging on Sunday. Locals feared that the advancing blaze could destroy their houses. Police personnel mobilised to control the fire reached the affected area on Sunday afternoon.

The wildfire has also threatened some hotels at Ulleri, said Guna Bahaudr Pun, the chairman of the Ulleri Hotel Management Committee.

“The fire has caused a huge loss as it destroyed rhododendron trees at Ulleri and the forest area in Dangsing VDC that falls under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project,” he said. Pun claimed that the fire was accidentally set by two young boys. SP Yadavraj Khanal said locals and the police have teamed up to fight the blaze and keep the nearby settlement safe.

He also said that they were yet to determine the damage caused by the fire.

Similarly, a fire that broke out at the site of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project at Lamabagar in Dolakha on Saturday has spread to the nearby forest. The fire was caused by electric sparks at the tunnel construction work.

A joint team of Nepal Army personnel, the police and project workers have been trying to douse the flames, but with little success as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, a similar fire in the Panchakanya and Hamarjung forest areas in Tehrathum since the past four days has destroyed 195 hectares of forest land, while 13 houses and cowsheds have been reduced to cinders. The spreading fire is yet to be contained.

District Forest Officer Phanindra Pokharel said the forest office has mobilised its officers to the affected areas.

In Dhankuta, wildfire has swept more than 12 community forests causing a huge loss of trees. Three houses in Tankhuwa VDC were destroyed as the fire spread in the village, police said.

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