Butwal, April 17, 2016:Â Forest fires that started a few days ago have spread across more than 77,000 hectaresÂ of forest land in six districts in Lumbini zone. Fires inÂ several places have yet to be contained.
The raging fire has mainly damaged the forests inÂ Chure range and adjoining areas close to the East-West Highway.
District Forest Officer of Rupandehi Indra Prasad Pachhai attributed the growing number of forest fires this year to long dry spell, windy weather and peopleâ€™s carelessness. He pointed out the difficult terrain, limited resources and unmanaged forest as challenges facing them in containing fires.
According to the forest office data, the fire has affected around 77,000 hectaresÂ of forest land in the past one week. Nawalparasi district is the worst hit, with the firing sweeping through 40,000Â hectares out of the total 122,365 hectares of forest land in the district. The raging inferno has affected 19,000 hectares of forest land in Arghakhanchi.
In Palpa, a middle-aged man was killed and twoÂ others sustained seriousÂ injuries while trying to bring a raging fire in the community forest under control last week. The bushfire has destroyed 33 houses and 35 animal sheds in Lumbini zone.
The authorities concerned have mobilised squads comprising personnel from district forest office, forestÂ consumer group and security agencies in each districtÂ to contain the fire. However, their efforts have been less effective due to limited resources.