The National Forestry Authority-NFA lost 6.9 billion shillings worth of trees to fire outbreaks in Abera forest in Gulu district in January 2022.
Abera forest is estimated to stretch about 1, 200 hectares covering Pakwelo, Unyama, Pageya, Angaya, Burcoro, Loyo-boo, Laroo and Barolam.
Ouna Jimmy, the NFA Range Manager for Achwa River Forest Reserves said that Abera which used to be a thick forest has suffered several fire outbreaks started by locals who want to forcefully settle and farm in the forest land.
In 2018, 10 acres of pines, euclaptus and teak trees estimated to be worth 100 million shillings were destroyed by fire at Abera.
Ouna who was speaking during a fire sensitization meeting held at Unyama Sub County headquarters expressed displeasure with the community for not helping to put out fires.
The community said they are forced to set fire to the forest because they are not considered for jobs in the forest
But Ouna said that the organization is forced to hire labourers from West Nile and Lango to work in the forest reserve because of lack of interest from the local community to work.
Torach Justin, the Local Councilor Five for Unyama Sub County however told NFA to include the local community in their activities to prevent them from setting fires in the forest.