Around 1,200 hectares of forest has been destroyed by wildfires that broke out in 47 community forests of six local levels in Myagdi district with the start of the dry season this year.

The bushfires consumed thousands of big and small trees, valuable medicinal herbs, wildlife and other forest products.

Wildfires are reported almost daily in Beni, the district headquarters, and various other places of the district. The area destroyed by fire ranges from 10 hectares to 150 hectares of community forests, the data shared by the Division Forest Office shows.

Sixty-five hectares of forest was destroyed by wildfire in Gaushwara community forest at Jyamrukkot, Beni Municipality, some days back.

The Division Forest Office mobilised 43 security personnel to lend a hand to the local community to take the fire under control.

The fire could not be contained even though security personnel and locals worked for two days to tame it.

Similarly, around 60 hectares of forest was destroyed by wildfire at Dharapani Community Forest of Dhawalagiri Rural Municipality, in the western part of the district.

Division Forest Office said it was difficult to bring the wildfires under control due to the difficult terrain and remoteness.

DFO officiating Chief Santosh Khanal said although bushfires tended to frequently break out due to natural causes during the dry and windy season, the local cattle herders also start forest fires thinking that it helps the growth of fresh grass and foliage.

According to him, there were many incidents of forest fires in the district this year, which caused a lot of damage to the forest.

The Division Forest Office has allocated one million rupees under different headings for controlling bushfire. This includes managing various firefighting tools, human resources and other required materials.

Khanal said the office was facing shortage of budget for purchasing firefighting equipment and requested the higher authorities for the same.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.