Fire ravages vast area of grass, woodland on Alishan

Fire ravages vast area of grass, woodland on Alishan

14 January 2009

published by www.etaiwannews.com


Taiwan — A forest fire in the mountainous Alishan area of southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County was finally brought under control Wednesday after raging over the area for more than 56 hours.

According to the Chiayi Forest District Office, the blaze was finally extinguished at around noon after it had destroyed 18.2 hectares of grassland mixed with scrub and trees.

The fire started early Monday on a hillside just off the Alishan highway between the 69 km and 70 km markers.

Office Director Yang Hung-chih said his office dispatched 18 forest fire experts who were supported by up to 40 other firefighters in battling the fire on the ground, while UH-1H and B-234 helicopters dispatched by the National Airborne Service Corps airdropped water to prevent the fire from spreading.

At night, the firefighters had to struggle with both the fire and temperatures that dropped to as low as 5 degrees Celsius, which added to the difficulty of the challenge, Yang said.

The results of a preliminary investigation suggest that the fire was deliberately set by an arsonist, according to the office.


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