The New Year will come and go so will be our enjoyment. But, the most important assets of our country “Environment” will never come to its stage once it’s gone. It is already winter, the most devastating and dangerous season for the conservationist and environment as a whole. The moisture contents is so less and fuels remain dry, the winds and temperature favors forest fire and make the area prone to it. As responsible citizens, we are enshrined equally with fundamental duties to protect our environment rather than debating for the rights. Keeping those responsibilities in mind, it is very necessary to be alert and stop forest fire destroying our environment. Our environment as we are aware is home to wildlife, it maintains the food chain with good habitat and ecosystem. Moreover, the aesthetic beauty of our environment is source of income to the country, it plays vital role in attracting tourism which is second most contributor to country’s economy.

Forest fire in Thimphu, 2016. Photo Google

Forest fires happens to be natural and man-made, natural cause of forest fires are beyond our reach we can’t stop it but forest fires due to anthropogenic activities has to be stopped. Every step we take in this season with fire has to be carefully looked at. We cannot say its unintentional when it happens and destroys tens of thousands of acres. Winter is the picnic season for school children, it’s the responsibility of parents to advice and let the spots are carefully cleaned and protected from forest fire. Winter is also a season for hangouts, for those careless smokers it is their responsibility to make sure the cigarette butt is taken care of. There is no reason to throw; your enjoyment will be the disaster for the nation. Winter, almost all the agriculture harvesting works are over, people would then burn debris for next plantation. Mostly, fires happen during the activity when the carelessness out-controls the scene. It is the duty of individual who burns the debris to be aware of burning time and get permit as instituted in our rules and regulation.

Records in the last five years details 216 number of fire incidents razing more than 96,044 acres of forest. We cannot remain idle when our resources vanish in seconds. Be responsible and careful. People in capital city are well exposed and have knowledge far better than others in remote. It’s time to think broader and make sure forest fire incident to the minimum. Though by population and location it is prone to fires yet we are educated people who know right and wrong. Fire incidents happen to be high in capital and central region not by the natural but due to anthropogenic activities.

Forest fires from eastern religion like Mongar and Trashingang are speculated as a result of people’s greed in extracting lemon grass oil. The regeneration of lemon grass after fire in those forests is rapid which drive some self centered people to stimulate fires. We cannot let the trend to continue otherwise there is no reason for development and education. Today, we are educated citizen well aware of our country’s vision. From small kids to adult, we are groomed well by the teachers and leaders, time has ripe to implement those acquired knowledge. It is the duty of individual to educate those uneducated on the effects and consequences of forest fire. Forest fire is the devastating disaster which is not only challenging but also effect in fulfilling the mandates of environmental conservation.

Beside the effect to wildlife and ecosystem, forest fires also alter the soil, topsoil and soil carbon are lost in the incident which negatively affect nutrient retention and water infiltration. Moreover, to retain the lost nitrogen, nitrogen fixing plant has to dominate the forest which takes decades of years (Larkin, 2014).  The change in soil composition as a result of forest fire lead to erosion as it weakens the soil structure. Moreover, forest and soil act as carbon sink. Increase in forest fires release carbon to air polluting the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a concern because it is largest contributor to global warming. If the trend of forest fire continues we cannot pledge to remain carbon neutral. Therefore, it is the duties of all individual to work together think broader and fulfill our pledge to remain carbon neutral by combating forest fires.

Lastly, as the year journeys we expect our environment to remain aesthetic without any destruction from forest fire. Careless cannot be the cause of forest fire because we are losing the greatest assets of our country. Be alert and responsible for the fire you manage. Keep children away from fire and match box. And, to those smokers be mindful and dutiful of cigarette butt you cherish. There is no reason to throw to the environment as we are educated enough to know the effect of environment pollution. Therefore, the entire citizen must work together and positively take the environment conservation as our epitome goal. Foresters and fire fighters alone can’t combat the disasters you created of. It is important we work together from the beginning and prevent forest fire.