Sunday, 21 July, 2024

Drought exacerbates risk of forest fires

File Photo - Nepali Army personnel deployed to douse forest fire in Manang, Jan 17, 2020.

Kathmandu, Apr. 10: The government has warned that the persisting dry weather will trigger pernicious forest fire incidents in the coming days.

Experts and officials are worrisome that the continued dry season will invite catastrophic and devastative forest fires.  

Sundar Prasad Sharma, Under Secretary at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, told The TRN Online, “We are at the peak of the fire season, and if the dry weather continues then will lead to the grave devastation.”

Saying that the dry season and wind are the triggering factor for forest fires, Sharma added that this year forest fires will continue till the fourth week of April and May, and if the dry season continues then it will bring a devastating outcome.

According to Sharma, Coordinator, UNISDR-Regional South Asia Wildland Fire Network, 2713 forest fire incidents were recorded in the country which is 15 times more than the 188 recorded forest fire incidents of last year from November to March.

Coordinator Sharma said, “We, along with the high officials of the government are gravely worried about the situation and are working on the regard. We have designed 15 types of design to extinguish forest fires.”

According to the Meteorological Forecasting Division, the dry weather will continue for some time.

Barun Paudel, Senior meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division said that Terai is more prone to a forest fire as heavy winds but no rainfall will be observed in the Terai region.

He further credited the dry and warm weather, along with heavy winds invited as the lack of rainfall since last winter as the reason behind increasing forest fire rage in the country.

"Rain would have wiped out the heat from the atmosphere, thereby cooling the surface, but because of lack of rain, weather, atmosphere, and even the wind and surface have been dried up." Senior meteorologist, Paudel added, "So, even the small human mistakes like leaving the fire, cigarette bud will aggravate the forest fire."