Nepal wildfires scorch 60,000 hectares of conserved forest

KATHMANDU: Wildfires have destroyed more than 60,000 hectares of conserved forest in the national parks and conservation areas in Nepal this year, the Rastriya Samachar Samiti reported.

Earlier, the Department of Forest had said a total of 3,50,000 hectare of forest area was scorched by wildfires in Nepal.

The latest data published by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) shows the Bardiya National Park was affected the most by the wildfire, while the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Conservation the least.

As many as 19,300 hectares of forest in Bardiya National Park; 18,640 hectares in Chitwan National Park; 16,500 hectares in Banke National Park; 6,854 hectares in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve; 2,605 hectares in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park; six hectares in Khaptad National Park and one hectare in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve was raged by the wildfires, according to Under-Secretary Gopal Prakash Bhattarai at the DNPWC.

Records of five years show that Nepal witnessed the highest count of wildfires (around 2800) in the month of April alone.

Earlier in April, NASA had reported that as many as 1.3 million hectares (over 3.7 million acres) of forest cover in Nepal was affected by wildfires in two weeks till April 11. A record number of fires were reported in the country on April 10.