NUWAKOT, Feb 16: During the dry seasons of last year, large areas of community forests in Nuwakot district were gutted by wildfires. Stakeholders and concerned authorities in the district are adopting precautionary measures this time to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Concerned stakeholders have joined hands for collaborative effort in preventing forest fires and also to take immediate measures if they occur.
District Forest Office on Thursday organized a meeting and invited all stakeholders, including employees of the office, community forest consumer groups, Nepal Army and Nepal Police among others. Representatives of each group pledged to monitor forest areas to minimize wildfires.
“We want to spread the message that wildfires can be minimized with strong cooperation among trained hands,” said District Forest Officer Padam Raj Nepal. “As human errors often lead to forest fires, we can drastically minimize the cause of wildfires by utilizing existing resources at our disposal,” he added.
Dry leaves and logs found in forests often catch fire during dry seasons. Assistant Forest Officer Pradeep Sharma requested forest user groups and other stakeholders to properly manage dry leaves in the forests.
The district has around 400 forests, including private, community and religious. Among them, as many as 180 forests are prone to wildfires, according to data maintained by the District Forest Office.
Many forest users believe that wildfires keep soil fertile and help in growing green grasses needed for their cattle. This belief causes them to deliberately set fire on forests. Stakeholders are seeking to eradicate such beliefs through awareness programs on various media, especially radio.