BARDIYA, April 20: Forest fires in Bardiya National Park (BNP) have already spread along the forests of the East West Highway. Due to strong winds, there is a risk of the fires going out of control.
Forest fires are common during summer every year. Over 12 areas of the park and surrounding areas are highly prone to forest fire. The disaster has been causing big losses to the park every year. Park officials suspect the fires to be set by the locals and poachers who enter the forests illegally.
“We have received information that some areas of the park, including the Pigeon Cave of Chure, have caught fire,” said Chief Conservation Officer Manoj Shah of the park. “We have already mobilized some employees and Nepal Army to control the fire.”
However, controlling the fire especially in rural areas that have no transport links is very difficult. Firefighters cannot reach these areas, making the fire control mission very challenging.
“The forest fire started from the Chure and is fast spreading to the southern hills. The fire is also slowly spreading to the eastern and northern areas,” said a park official.
Settlements including Bhuri Gaun, Karmala, Sainawar, Mainawar, Aauri, among other places, are affected by the forest fire. The smoke billowing from the forest fire has created difficulties for the locals, they said.
“Smoke billowing from the forest fire has darkened the surroundings. The fire has been spreading continuously for the past two days,” said Sammer Tharu, a local.
According to park officials, wild animals of the park would be in a great danger if the forest fires are not brought under control. “Due to the risks and dangers, we have adopted various ways to control forest fires, including fire lines,” said Shahi.