Fire season sparks off

Fireseason sparks off

1 March 2008

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Bhutan — A 300-year-old lhakhang was razed to theground by a forest fire that started 11:30 on Thursday, above Satsam Chorten inParo, and has still not been brought under control.

Paro’s burnt out skeleton of once proud Dogsum lhakhang

Thimphu blanketed by the smoke of a burning forest

According to a Paro dzongkhag official, nothing couldbe salvaged from the Dogsum lhakhang, a private lhakhang, which was destroyed inminutes by the fire.

The lhakhang was the dengsa (seat) of Dupthob Sangay Bjorden, according tothe Paro Dzongda, Namgay Wangchuk. “All the nangtens were destroyed,” hesaid. The owner and the caretaker left for Satsam Chorten to call for help whenthe fire destroyed the lhakhang.

Another fire, which started above the Taktshang Goenpa (Tiger’s Nest) alsodestroyed hundreds acres of forest. But no loss of property was reported.

Meanwhile, the capital city was engulfed under a thick blanket of smoke whenthe forest fire, that started above the Dechencholing Goenpa, at the same timeas the Paro fire, could not be brought under control for almost two days.Yesterday morning, visibility was reduced to about 200 hundred metres when smokeengulfed the capital city. Hundreds of volunteers from the Royal Bhutan Army,Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Body Guards, and forestry officials are stillfighting the fire.

The fire was suspected to have caused by a spark from an electricaltransmission line. Fire fighters told Kuensel that the steep cliff and fallingstones made it difficult to fight the fire.

Some Thimphu residents called up the media saying that the fire had engulfedthe Wangditse monastery when huge billows of smoke started arising from behind.However, the fire has not as feared spread to the monastery.

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