Forest fire in the Bangladesh Sundarbans

The forest fire destroyed about 1 acre of the Bangladesh Sundarbans in Nangli, near Dhansagor Station forest camp of Chandpai range. On March 27, 2016, the local people first noticed the fire in the forest in the afternoon and informed the nearest forest camp. The Forest Department and the local community together tried overnight to control the fire. The Fire Brigade of Morrelganj unit was called in when the local people and Forest Department failed to manage the situation. The Fire Brigade brought the situation under control the next day.

This incident of the forest fire in the Bangladesh Sundarbans is not new. Every year forest fire destroys a large area of the forest, and in most cases local people and few corrupted Forest Department staff are responsible for this.  In 2012, a similar forest fire in Kalamtezi destroyed a large area of the Bangladesh Sundarbans. In Nangli, Kalamtezi, Gulishakhali, Dhansagor and other places of Chandpai and Sarankhola ranges forest fire is now very common phenomenon. But in most cases, the incidents remain unreported. It is reported that some people of the area in collaboration with Forest Department staff grab forest land illegally for fishing. The villagers complained that some Forest Department staff take bribe from the local people and illegally lease the forest land to them for fishing every year.

This man-made forest fire usually breaks out just before the monsoon in Bangladesh. At that time    people set fire to the forest to clear the land. The low land in the forest is usually chosen for fishing. People clear the low land and collect water during monsoon. After storing adequate water for fishing, they make a narrow channel to let in Cat fish (Clariasmagur) into this land. After the monsoon they collect and sell fish from this land.

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