Forest Fire

Despite community awareness and stringent state laws, wild flame is one of the key cause of forest degradation in Drametse and Narang zones. The Forestry Extension office on average has recorded about two wild fire accidents in every twelve months for the last 16 years (1997-2012) of which 60% were experienced by Drametse alone. The figure of wild fire was highest in 1999 and 2002, and no such accident was traced in the year 2005 and 2009. Pertaining to the wild flame damage, about 80 % of the affected areas were Government Reserve Forest (GRF) and 20% of it falls under Community Forest (CF). However, the proportion of private lands affected was very negligible with only 0.40 hectare burnt by wild flame so far. Beside harm to forest crops, human causalities and damage to the public properties by the wild flames were also reported in the year 2012.
The extent of damage caused by wild flames was noted to be directly linked to the promptness of response by the public, timing of detection, environmental factors and geological conditions. Most of the forest fires were detected during night hours (almost 35% of the total accidents) making difficult situation to mobilize the fire fighters. Beside local communities and forest officials, there was no record of participation from civil servants, cooperative and private employees, businessmen and students though great numbers of them were noted within Drametse and Narang region. The cooperation from the government and private organization may have helped to reduce the average number of days taken to suppress forest fire, thereby naturally reducing the extent of damage caused by fire.

The detection rates of the offender were very negligible, and thereby welcoming another wild flames in the next season. The wild flames could be set deliberately for proper growth of grasses by local lemon grass oil distillers or can be accidental like use of wood torch at night, fire set to chase wild animals from fields, campfire set by road workers, etc. One of the humorous reasons I traced recently was that the farmers set fire on purpose to trim down vegetation cover so that they can get rid of wild pest from their fields. Whatever the causes may be, the timing for such flame accidents had ripened with wintry weather and browning of trees, shrubs and bushes. The hungry flames therefore can at any time hit our wild zones, and for the reason that I request local communities of Drametse and Narang to be extra cautious and also call for the hands of all the stakeholders if by chance such devastating calamity hit us.



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