Bhutan — A forest fire, which started yesterday afternoon from Chenari, near Chazam in Trashigang, has burnt down an automobile workshop, three cars and 25 two-wheelers kept for repair there, as the fire spread, fanned by fierce wind.
The fire also burnt down a sawmill along with construction material, a house and makeshift labour camps at Kheri, about two kilometres from Trashigang town. The fire also damaged 150 disc insulators of the Chenari powerhouse when the store caught fire.
The store was saved from being completely damaged. A jersey cow was also roasted alive. Dzongkhag officials were still compiling damage reports around 10:30 pm.
No casualties were reported as of last night.
Dzongkhag officials said that the strong afternoon winds fanned the fire beyond control, even as villagers, forestry, dzongkhag and Dantak officials, police and volunteers from Sherubtse college in Kanglung tried to fight the fire.
The dzongrab, Dorji Sangay, told Kuensel that volunteers, however, prevented the fire from spreading towards the dzong and catching to the only fuel station at Kheri. The rugged terrain and the dry undergrowth added fuel to the fire, said the dzongrab. We cant imagine the damage, had the fire caught the fuel station where LPG cylinders were also kept. The dzong is safe. The cylinders were relocated to safer ground as the fire spread and reached the fuel station.
Two firefighting engines, one brought from Mongar, municipal and DANTAK tankers, were still fighting the fire around 10 pm last night, together with volunteers. Dorji Sangay said that all the villages and government institutions in Kanglung and Rangshikhar were alerted about the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Meanwhile, firefighters said that another forest fire had started below Narang gewog and was spreading towards Drametse at around 10:30 last night.
On command of His Majesty the King, UNICEF emergency kits were immediately distributed to the victims. Affected families were assured government support and assistance, said the dzongrab.