Nepal | October 20, 2020

Nepal wildfires scorch 60,000 hectares of conserved forest

THT Online
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On April 11, 2016, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of fires burning across Nepal. Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fires. Plumes of smoke dispersed across the country. Image: NASA

On April 11, 2016, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of fires burning across Nepal. Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fires. Plumes of smoke dispersed across the country. Image: NASA

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.

Wildfire breaks out in Gaighat of Udayapur district

File: A wildfire that broke out in Phuljore Jungle of Mahabharat Community Forest, Udayapur, on Monday, March 14, 2016. Photo: THT

NASA said the satellite imagery showed that 457 forests across the country were affected by fires with the worst affected being Sindhuli district, whose 40 per cent forest cover was reduced to ashes.

Records show that most of the incidents of forest fire are recorded in April and May.

Lalitpur-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been detecting and monitoring forest fires in Nepal since 2013.

ICIMOD, in collaboration with the Department of Forests of Nepal, has developed a forest fire detection and monitoring system for Nepal based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data.

The system facilitates data acquisition, processing, and reporting on fire location information in an automated manner, according to ICIMOD.

On April 28, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of smoke and fires in Nepal. Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fires. Image: NASA

On April 28, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of smoke and fires in Nepal. Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fires. Image: NASA


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