Jemina forest fire rages for more than a day

Jemina forest fire rages for more than a day

13 January 2010

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Bhutan — Fanned by fierce winds, a forest fire that broke out around 11 am on Monday has destroyed about 800-900 acres of blue pine forest in Jemina, Thimphu.

More than 400 people, comprising forestry officials, royal Bhutan police, royal Bhutan army, volunteers from local factories, hospital and Jemina community are fighting the fire, which was not contained as of late yesterday evening.

The firefighters, divided into nine groups, are fighting the fire from different directions, according to Tandin Dorji, an official of the social forestry unit. Firefighters carry backpack water pumps with a capacity of 20 l from a stream 500 m away from the location to douse the fire. “We’re trying to contain the fire from spreading into the nearby communities, by adopting the backfire method (controlled burning),” said Tandin Dorji.

Firefighters said that the strong winds are posing problems for the firefighters. “Vigorous containment work has to suspended in the afternoon from 2 to 4:30 pm because of the risk from the fire due to the winds.”

As of yesterday evening the situation was under control, but could not be extinguished.

The fire first started from Pulina, a place above a goenpa in Jemina. Officials suspect the fire to have started from a private apple orchard.

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