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World Nepal knows its most violent forest fires of the decade

18:15  06 april  2021
18:15  06 april  2021 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Des habitants luttent contre un incendie dans une forêt à Baglung, à environ 275 km à l'ouest de Katmandou, le 5 mars 2021 © Riwaj Sharma inhabitants fight against a fire in a forest in Baglung, about 275 km west of Kathmandu, March 5, 2021

Nepal Know their worst season of forest fires for nearly ten years, huge braziers raging across the country, wrapped in a brownish cloud, according to the authorities.

The air quality in the capital Kathmandu was ranked Tuesday as the worst in the world, according to the IQAIR surveillance site, and some international flights were delayed while a thick smoke covered the city.

The spokesperson for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, Uddav Prasad Rijal, told AFP that the number of forest fires reported this season was the highest since the creation of the registers listing, nine years ago. Firefighters endeavored to control the flames, indicated officials.

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More than 2,700 forest fires have been reported in the country since November, 14 times more than the same period last year, according to the government.

According to Mr. Rijal, the winter season between November and February was more dry than usual, which increased the risk. The fire season begins in November and lasts until the arrival of the monsoon in June.

Farmers also burned parts of woodlands to grow grass to feed their livestock, "said Rijal.

In the district of Bara, in the south of Nepal, a villager said that his house had been "choked by smoke" for a week while the fire was raging in a local forest.

"It's the worst forest fire I've seen in my life. There should be a way to better control it," said Bharat Ghale, 60 years old.

According to a climate expert, Madhukar Upadhya, it was "inevitable" that there are more fires, because Nepalese winters become drier due to climate change.

"You have to work to reduce the risk of fire at the communities that must be equipped to fight when a forest fire occurs," he explained to AFP.

Last week, schools were closed for four days after air quality had reached dangerous levels.

STR / PM / GRK / AXN / FIO / SG

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