Bhutan — The fire that started at around 11 am on Sunday opposite Khasadraphu, Thimphu was put off at around 5 pm yesterday. It has destroyed more than 400 acres of forest, according to officials.
Most of the trees damaged by the fire were blue pine. The fire, which couldnt be doused on Sunday, reached the Khariphu stone quarry, located about four kilometres up the hill from Thimchu.
There were thick grasses around the stone quarry area that added fuel to the fire, said Thimphu divisions forest officer Dorji Rabten.
About 800m of fire line were dug to control the fire yesterday, when forest officials and volunteers continued fighting it.
Forest officials earlier said that people found guilty of starting forest fires would be strictly penalised with a penalty of Nu 300 and Nu 1,000 for every acre of forest land damaged, depending on the nature of forest and the severity of the fire. For every tree burnt, the culprit will have to pay fines based on the timber value, forest officials said.
The community would be held responsible and made to replant tree saplings if the culprit is not apprehended, said forest officials.
Community people, along with gewog forest officials, would do a thorough assessment on exact area burnt and number of trees destroyed after mopping up the fire tomorrow.
Well be able to penalise the culprits only after assessing the damage, said Dorji Rabten, adding that both the culprits arrested were from Jamdo Phakha, a village under Mewong gewog. The accused, two men from Jamdo, are in police custody.