Bhutan has witnessed in the recent past glacial lake outburst, flash floods, massive landslides etc causing immense damage on property and loss of lives fostering adverse impact on economy and environment. Among all these disasters, forest fire has the most adverse impact. With this in view, a Incident Command System (ICS) and development of Disaster and Forest Fire Management System workshop was held in the Royal Banquet Hall, Thimphu, from 25th January, 2008 for three days.
The Chief Guest, the Director of Forest, Mr. Karma Dukpa greets some participants
The workshop was organised by the Forest Fire Section of the Social Forestry Division of the Department of Forest with financial support from USAID.
Professor Ronald Wakimoto from the University of Montana, Ms. Deanne Shulman, Emergency specialist from Disaster Mitigation Program and Ms. Alissa Roeder, Hotshot Superintendent of the US Forest Service graced the workshop as resources persons.
Other participants include senior officers from the Department of Forest, National Environment Commission, Disaster Management Division of the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs, Thimphu City Corporations and focal representatives from the Royal Bhutan Army and Police.
Prime objectives of workshop were the sharing of information and familiarisation of the participants on application of Incident Command system in forest fire management.
Draft skeletal strategic framework for development of National Forest Fire Management was an outcome of the workshop.
The workshop in progress
Mr. Karma Dukpa, the Director for Department of Forest who was the Chief Guest, after extending his warmest welcome to the distinguished guests pointed out that Bhutan is not free from natural disasters.
Bhutan has witnessed in the recent past glacial lake outburst, flash floods, massive landslides etc causing immense damage on property and loss of lives fostering adverse impact on economy and environment.
He said that forest fire is the disaster with the most adverse impact in Bhutan threatening the peoples livelihood and national economy.
Over the decades more than 230,000 acres of forest have been burnt by forest fires.
Resource persons Professor Ronald Wakimoto, Ms. Deanne Shulman, and Ms. Alissa Roeder
The workshop formally began with presentation on Overview of Disaster Management in Bhutan by Ms. Karma Doma Tshering from Disaster Management Division of Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
According to her, earthquakes, GLOF, floods, landslides and forest fire are potential hazards in Bhutan.
Chief Forestry Officer Mr. Chado Tshering of Social Forestry Division briefed the participants on forest fire management and challenges in Bhutan.
After that Ms. Deanne Shulman of US forest services shed lights on Incident Command System as practiced in United State.
Presentation by Disaster Management Division of MoHCA
In day two of the workshop Chief Forestry Officer of Jigmi Dorji National Park Mr. Kinley
Tshering presented recommendations for Development of an Effective Forest Fire Management Strategy for Bhutan.
In the later part of day the participants are divided in six groups of Fire prevention, fire suppression, fire effects and use, post fire rehabilitation, fire safety and fire education and training group.
Each group was instructed to make and present their own draft strategy framework.
Group picture of the participants taken at the opening of the workshop
Discussion on the draft strategy framework for development of a national forest fire management was carried out in third day of the workshop.
Applicability of the draft Strategy framework in all risk disaster management was also discussed.
Reported by Dawa Dakpa, ICO for Department of Forest, ICS/CoRRB
Photographer: Choidup Zangpo, ICS/CoRRB