MUGU, Jan 19: For a week, more than a dozen community and national forests have caught wildfire at Chayanath Rara Municipality, Mugu. The fires have killed wild animals, charred trees and medicinal herbs, destroyed grazing lands and turned nearby surroundings smoky. However, neither communities nor the District Forest Office (DFO), seem to care to douse the fires.
The DFO has frequently strengthened community forest users groups and communities with skills and knowledge to douse fires. However, with ignorant communities, forest fires are recurring, Basanta Kumar Shahi, chief of DFO said.
“We haven’t been able to reach in all places due to human resource constraints,” Shahi said adding that the forest fires were recurrent due to community belief that green grasses would grow quicker.
Residents of Ruwa village, Ward 13 of the municipality said that the fire was also gutting down their livelihood means. “The fire sparked early and we couldn’t collect necessary raw materials,” Indrajit Lawad, a local resident said. Of the 141 households in the Ward, 121 are Dalits. The communities rely on forest resources, raw materials and medicinal herbs to make ends meet.
At present, nine forests have caught fire in the municipality.