Update: 1 January 2005 – A forest fire which wasextinguished yesterday evening has destroyed about 100 acres of coniferousforests near Kharphu Dothakha in Dogar geog, Paro, according to forest officials.
The fire has been put out but we dont know how muchmore of forest has been destroyed, said the Dogar geog Tshokpa member, Tenzin.
Personnel from the Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Body Guards, Royal Bhutan Policeand volunteers have been helping forestry officials and village volunteers fromabout 60 housesholds of Dogar geog to battle the flames since December 30.
The fire may have started from the Khabji stone quarry where some blastingwas being done around 2:00 pm on December 29, said Dogar gup Pema Khandu.
Tshogpa Tenzin told Kuensel that the fire on the Thimphu dzongkhag side wasunder control but it had crossed over to Paro dzongkhag where it was stillburning.
The forest fire fighters have been trying to control the fire from spreadingby cutting fire-lines during the day and by beating the flames with pinebranches. But the dry weather and strong afternoon winds have made control ofthe flames difficult. Once darkness falls we have to stop as it is toodangerous to manually beat the flames, said one village volunteer.
Another forest fire above Langjophakha in Thimphu on December 29 destroyedabout 10.9 acres of forest. The flames were extinguished by security personneland volunteers after it was noticed around 1:30 pm by participants of a HIV/AIDsyouth forum at the Banquet hall. Some of the participants of the youth forumalso helped to put out the fire.
Assistant dzongkhag forest Officer Galay Wangchuk said that the fire startedfrom a butter lamp made of dough which has been offered by two women making areligious offering in the forest.
According to forestry rules, the offender should pay Nu. 1000 an acre orafforest the damaged area.