IDPs Fear Forest Fires Could Burn Their Homes in the Village

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By Kantarawaddy Times. 

22 February 2024. 

Due to the fire season from February through March, internally displaced people (IDPs) in Demoso Township, Karenni State, fear that forest fires could spread to their homes, said residents.

“Yes, for now, even some people who want to go back and clear and burn the bush near their homes cannot go back as they fled far from the village. As the bush becomes dense, we fear that burning it could cause the fire to spread. If we don’t burn it, we fear that the wildfire will spread and burn our houses. We don’t know what to do,” said Mar Talay Nar, who is living in the IDP camp at 6 Miles Village in Demoso Township.

Residents of Demoso Township who have been displaced since May 2021 and have yet to return to their homes are worried about the dense vegetation and shrubs around their homes becoming a fire hazard.

Although some locals returned and cleared the vegetation in late 2023, they could not clear the residential areas where the junta troops were stationed due to concerns about danger from land mines, according to the locals.

“I’m worried. As I’ve been fleeing from the war, I just cleared up some of the mess at home. But I don’t know about the weather this season. We can’t predict what might happen to the grass because of the wind,” said Oo Alin Sho from Daw Bue Gga Ray village, who is currently living in an IDP camp.

In April 2023, a wildfire spread through the village of Dawbu Nga Ray in Demoso Township, burning down four houses. Although villagers could not return home to clear the bush around their houses for wildfire protection, some villagers who have returned home and cleaned the bush must walk carefully due to the landmine threats, according to locals.

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