KATHMANDU: Nepal is fighting against more than 600 wildfires at the moment. The fire has left its devastating footmarks in many places in the country.
Incidences of fire are not rare cases in the Valley as well. The three districts of the Valley witness more than 500 instances of fire every year.
The fire brigades of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Armed Police Force, and Nepal Army are used to control the fire.
Experts blame unorganized urbanization and the unmanaged wires everywhere responsible for most of the cases of fire here.
According to the office of the Juddha Barun Yantra (JBY), the fire brigade authority, the Kathmandu district alone sees around 250 to 300 fire incidents every year.
Similarly, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts see around 150 and 100 instances of fire every year.
Kishor Kumar Bhattarai, Chief of Judha Varun Yantra’s Kathmandu office, most of the instances of fire in urban areas are found to be due to leakage of cooking gas or electric short- circuits.
To be more specific, most of the fire incidents originate from the sparkling at the electric poles.
“Juddha Varun Yantra” is the first fire engine in Nepal. The Government of Nepal had handed over the Judha Varun Yantra Office to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City under the Local Government Act in 2009.
Since then, the metropolis has been working to control fires in some outlying districts, including the valley.
The metropolis currently has five fire engines. Out of those five, only three are in operation; two are already out of order.
When inquired about the cause of not procuring more fire brigades, the Metropolis officials merely share the future plans only.
According to them, the metropolis is in the process of purchasing three sophisticated fire equipment including a 60-meter-high ladder and a 6,000-liter capacity water tank to manage the possible disasters.
“At present, three fire engines with the capacity to control fires up to 10 storied buildings are in operation,” Bhattarai, the head of Fire Brigade Office said, “Our fire brigade also reach Nuwakot, Dhading, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk and other districts along with Kathmandu Valley considering the nature of the fire.”
According to Bhattarai, JBY has been sending fire bikes to control fires in narrow places where firefighters cannot enter due to congestion.
“In collaboration with the private sector, 10 fire bikes have been prepared in our guidance,” he said, adding “We have provided one fire bike each to Lalitpur and Bhaktapur metropolis for emergency services.”
He informed that fire bikes are usually used to control small fires.
Chemical foam is also used for fire control.
Pipeline in a narrow alley
Work is also underway to lay water pipelines on the narrow and inland roads that cannot reach the fire station.
“Pipelines should be laid to control the fire, especially in densely populated areas where the fire brigade cannot reach,” Bhattarai said, adding, “The work is underway to lay water pipelines on the narrow and inland roads.”
According to him, the incidents of fires are also increasing in such places.
A pipeline has been laid in Asan, Ward No. 24 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City,” he said,” there are plans to lay pipelines in other wards as well.”
To make its fire control mechanism more effective, the metropolis plans to build fire extinguisher offices at four places in Kathmandu. In addition to Basantapur, there is now a fire station in Bouddha.
Bhattarai informed that the search was also underway for a place suitable to set up offices in Koteshwar and Kalanki areas.