Wildfire Threatens N’hkai Bum National Park

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A forest fire that broke out in N’hkai Bum National Park has been burning since early March. Locals fear that the fire will dry up the Kyein Krang creek, which they rely on as a source of water in Kachin State.

“It’s so important for us,” said a woman from Aung Myin Tha. “If there are no more trees on the mountain and around the water source, Kyein Krang creek will dry up, which will affect the environment in the area,” she said, explaining that residents of Myitkyina also use the water.

The creek is fed by the mountain where the fire spread, according to local residents. The creek joins the Irrawaddy River, near Kyein Krang village from which it takes its name.

Nearly 3,000 villagers from Kyein Krang and Aung Myin Tha, Lon Ga Zup and others depend on it, said a local. “If the fire on N’hkai Bum continues to burn, the Kyein Krang creek will definitely dry up.”

Residents of Aung Myin Tha built a recreation centre along the creek.

“We sell food…and have built bamboo huts with thatched roofs along Kyein Krang creek,” explains a resident who is worried about her investment if the fire that is burning near her village continues.

No one knows how it started. Last year, another fire broke out, burning many trees and orchards of the residents. Before, many people climbed the mountain to collect material for their roofs, bamboo, wild herbs and other vegetables.

The 70,000-acre park, also called Kachin National Park, was established in 2017 and home to leopards, monkeys, many bird species and snakes, all of which are protected.