Forest fires due to a long dry winter spell have been creating havoc and destroying the bio-reserve areas of Sikkim for the past four days. The three affected districts were south, west and north Sikkim. Forest officials along with police have managed to curb the fire in south and west districts.
Meanwhile, the fire which broke out in a steep hill called Siyo Bhir near Tingvom in Upper Dzongu of North Sikkim on 3 January 2006 evening has receded. The forest cover in the Upper Dzongu area is regarded as the buffer zone of Kanchendzonga National Park having a total area of 850 sq kms and covering the highest elevation range (1829 to 8585 metres) in the country.
Forest fires were also reported from Chiwabbanjang area near the international border of Sikkim and Nepal. The fire had spilled over from the Nepal side to Chiwabbanjang on 3 January 2006. Forest territorial staff and Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) promptly doused the fire on the same day. The fire on Nepal side was also receding but the forest department is constantly prepared to prevent further spillovers from the Nepal side into Sikkim. Keeping in view the tourist and religious importance of Guru Padmashambhavas idol at Sandruptse, the forest department is creating a protective fireline around Sandruptse.
Latest MODIS scenes showing the fire in Sikkim and Nepal
9 January 2006
click on image for a 250 m resolution
This false-clour image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra satellite on 9 January 2006, shows the Himalaya mountain range dotted with active fires (red dots).
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.