Forest Fire Licks 45 Hectares of Forest in Central Taiwan
published by People’s Daily Online, 20 March 2001
A forest fire that began Sunday in a pine forest in mountainous central Taiwan is expected to be brought under control by Monday night, according to reports reaching HK from Taipei.
As of Monday noon, a total of 153 fire-fighters and foresters had reached the burning area, located about a two-hour walk from the Dandah forest highway, and some 45 hectares of the pine forest had already been consumed by the fire.
Local forest authorities are applying for helicopters to battle the fire as “manual” fire-fighting efforts have proven to be difficult in the current dry season and on the steep mountain ridge bordering the central county of Nantou and the eastern island of Hualien.
The fire, which was first spotted from a Dandah forest lookout tower at around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, had initially been brought under control by around 4 a.m. Monday after fire-fighters dug a 1, 000-meter “fireline” by clearing brush and fallen leaves from a wide strip around the fire.
The flames, however, restarted later in the morning when winds picked up and fire-fighters were unable to douse the smoldering fire with enough water, according to local forest officials.
The officials were quoted as saying that they believe the fire was caused by human factors as it started in a low-lying area near a mountain creek often used by mountain climbers and aboriginal hunters. They speculated that someone probably carelessly dropped a lighted match or cigarette on the forestfloor.