Lhakhang ravaged by forest fire

Lhakhang ravaged by forest fire

22 May 2009

published by www.abc.net.au

Bhutan — A forest fire that lasted almost three days razed the Tshodalam lhakhang in Zombe gewog, Punakha, to the ground. About 200 acres of chirpine forest were also damaged by the fire, which started on May 19 from Kilikhar village. The fire was extinguished only yesterday afternoon at around 3 pm.

Forest officials said that the cause of fire is still under investigation, but they suspect it to have started from burning trash, set ablaze by a caretaker of the village.

“We were informed by our officials on mobile duty on the afternoon of May 19,” said the forest range officer, Shiv Lal. Around 150 villagers accompanied the 20 forest officials and 19 police personnel to fight the fire.

The Punakha dzongrab, Tappo, said that relics from Tshodalam lhakhang were safely taken out, but that the lhakhang could not be saved because of the dry weather and strong afternoon winds. “Although it was difficult for the fire-fighters to control the flames, there were no casualties reported,” he said. Tshodalam lhakhang is about 30 years old and taken care by the people of Kilikhar village.

“However, the lhakhang is insured and the maximum claim could be around Nu 150,000,” said dzongrab Tappo.

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