The spokesman for Nepal's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, Uddav Prasad Rijal said, Nepal is experiencing its worst fire season in almost a decade, as huge blazes rage across the country's forests, engulfing the Himalayan nation in a shroud of brownish haze. Air quality in the capital Kathmandu was ranked on Tuesday as the worst in the world, according to monitoring site IQAir, with some international flights delayed as thick smoke blanketed the city. The highest number of wildfires have been reported this season since records of such incidents were maintained nine years ago.
Firefighters were working to bring the flames under control. More than 2,700 wildfires have been reported in Nepal since November, 14 times higher than in the same period last year.
Rijal said the winter season between November and February was drier than usual, increasing the risk. The wildfire season starts in November and lasts until the onset of the monsoon in June. Farmers were also burning parts of forested land to grow grass to feed their livestock
Climate expert Madhukar Upadhya said it was inevitable that there would be more wildfires as Nepal's winters become drier as a result of climate change. Work needs to be done to reduce the risk of fires at the community level and they (communities) have to be equipped to mitigate it when a wildfire occurs.