The first forest fire of the year, one of the largest that Thimphu dzongkhag had seen, destroyed more than 200 acres of coniferous forest, according to the forestry officials.
The raging flames burn on the hills overlooking Thimphu late yesterday evening
Personnel from Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Body Guards, volunteers from the neighbouring area, and forestry officials were battling the flames since yesterday.
According to the divisional forest officer, Lobzang Dorji, the fire had started from above the sewage tank in Babesa at about 11:30 am and crossed over the valley above Changzamtog.
By Tuesday evening, Lobzang Dorji said that it was more difficult and risky for the firefighters to continue unless the wind will be stopping in the morning.
The cause and the full extent of the damage was yet to be known. Another forest fire, caused by people who had smoked in the area, had destroyed a few acres of forest above the Motithang Zoo about 15 days ago.
Latest MODIS scenes showing the fire in Bhutan
5 January 2006
click on image for a 500 m resolution
This false-color image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Aqua satellite on 5 January 2006, shows the upper valleys among the southern slopes of the Himalaya range dotted with active fires (red dots) and burn scars from recent fires (brownish red patches).
See also other fire events in the Himalaya region:
For more information on the use of fires and wildfires in the Himalayas see:
Schmidt-Vogt, D. 1990. Fire in high altitude forests of the Nepal Himalaya. In: Fire in ecosystem dynamics. Mediterranean and northern perspectives (J.G. Goldammer and M.J. Jenkins, eds.), 191-199. SPB Academic Publ., The Hague, 199 p.