Bhutan — Fanned by strong afternoon winds, the forest fire, which started around 11:30 yesterday morning near Gyalpoizhing town in Mongar, has damaged some 200 acres of chirpine forest.
The fire started near one of the makeshift houses in Gyalpoizhing, Tashipogtor where someone was cooking outside. Gyalpoizhing Range officer, Yeshi Lhundrup said the fire started accidentally.
He said most forest fires happened due to careless disposal of cigarette butts and by allowing children to play with fire. But yesterdays fire started when it spread to the grass and then to the forest just as an old woman was preparing lunch.
This is Mongars first forest fire this winter. People are aware of the problem but lack initiative and knowledge, a resident said.
Gyalpoizhing police, forest officials, along with locals and some 30 fire fighters fought the fire but due to steep terrace, they couldnt control the fire. No casualty has been reported.
Officials said fire has destroyed more than 750 acres of pine forest in Mongar alone. Most are man-made from burning debris and children playing with matchsticks. People usually involved in forest fire are cow herders, lemon grass harvester, and road workers.