Forest fires destroying forests in Mahottari

Mahottari : Forest fires are ravaging forest areas, including emerging plants in Mahottari.
Early outbreak of forest fires is likely to loom large in lack of winter rain this time.

Forest fire is visible in the national forests (community forests), collaborative forests and religious forests in and around Bardibas and Gaushala municipality areas as well as the forests alongside the East-West Highway.

There are four sub-divisional offices (Banke, Tuteshwor, Gananta and Gauridanda) within Bardibas boundary. It also has the Armed Forest Security Office and office and post of the Saganath Forest Development Project.

“Those putting flames in the forests have never been arrested”, said Buddhiraj Kafle, a local of Bardibas-5, Tuteshwor. He said local folks were not having sound sleep in a fear of outbreak of forest fire in their settlement.

Likewise, trends of rampant cut-down of trees have also gone up in lack of effective patrol in the forest areas due to fire outbreak.
There is a public complaint that the collaborative forests committee and office as well as community forests are merely engaged in consuming the resources rather than preserving forest heritage.

Laxmi Prasad Mahato, a local of Gaushala-10, Laxminiya commented that forests are being denuded due to sheer ignorance on part of the forests staffs. “Daily forest fire is turning forests into ashes”, he said. Shepherds are mostly found to put fire in the forests for new grass. But, there is no action against the criminals.

According to Division Forest Office, the district has a total of 24,465 hectares of forest area. Intense patrol activities have not been placed due to inadequate human resource, forest staffs said.

Chief of Gananta Sub-Division Forest Office Bardibas-5, Maisthan and Assistant Forest Officer Ramsudnar Saha said local people cooperation was a must for taking the forest fires under control.

Assistant Chief District Officer Upendra Neupane said a joint patrol team has been formed in coordination with other security agencies in the district to ramp up forests surveillance and patrol. “There are Armed Police and Nepal Police posts inside the forest areas. Their joint patrol engagement should be increased for forests security”, he said. (RSS)