Smog blankets Nepal as hundreds of wildfires rage nationwide #Breaking112
Nepal’s dry season, which runs from late fall to early summer, typically peaks with the most severe fires in March and April. Since November, 73 of Nepal’s 77 districts have reported forest fires — the highest level on record in the past five fire seasons, according to CNN Weather.
The country has recorded up to 2,087 forest fires nationwide since November 15, 2020, according to the Nepalese Forest Fire Management. And as of March 25, there were still at least 524 active fires burning across the country, spreading a combination of dust, smoke and ash into the air.
Photos from the capital Kathmandu show streets blanketed in gray smog, the air thick and visibility poor. Images taken Sunday by the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite show the valleys east of Kathmandu completely engulfed in smoke.
Kathmandu’s PM 2.5 levels reached a maximum of 363 micrograms per cubic meter on Tuesday. The World Health Organization considers anything above 25 to be unsafe.
But there is some hope in the immediate forecast. A weak system moving across the area will usher in about a 40% chance of wet weather on Wednesday and Thursday, according to CNN Weather.
Kathmandu averages around 34 millimeters of rainfall in the month of March, but has only recorded a little over 6 millimeters this month — so this will be the best chance for rainfall in nearly three weeks.