A thick layer of smoke has covered Nawalpur due to bushfires in various community forests in the district.

Division forest Office Nawalpur's information officer Shiva Shrestha said bushfires had spread in around 2,000 hectares of forests in the district.

"Chances are high that the bushfires might spread further as reports of bushfire break out in the various community forests of the district are coming in," he added.

Last year, wildfire had spread only in 600-hectare forest.

However, this year it has spread in more than 2,000 hectares of area within the last month of March. According to Shrestha, a large number of bushfires have broken out in the community forests in the highway area of Nawalpur. He said fire starts in the forest as people have the tendency to throw burning cigarette butts in and around the highway area.

Similarly, it is found that people, who have an issue with the community forest user committees, also set fire to the forest out of animosity. Animal herders also start fire in the forest in the belief that burning a patch of forest land will help in the germination of better grass and foliage for animals.

Nawalpur has about 70,400 hectares of forest.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.