YK Poudel

The forest fire above Takin Preserve, Sangaygang in Thimphu that started at 10:47 am yesterday was contained by 2:26pm with timely intervention by 205 armed force personnel, de-suups,  foresters and volunteers. 

This is the first forest fire of the year that burnt 2.5 acres of blue pine forest 500 metres above the highway.

According to an official from the Department of Forest and Park Services, the fire was caused by the carelessness of a group of labourers engaged in the construction of the Bhutan Telecom tower. “While they were fixing the pipe, the fire spread from the nearby grass,” the official said.

The Forest and Nature Conservation (Amendment) Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2020, chapter 11 states: “Any offender under this section is liable for a payment of Nu 5,000 and a suppression cost of Nu 5,000 per day.”

Deputy Chief Forestry Officer, of the Forest Resources Planning and Management Division, Ram Bahadur Mongar, said that the division would continue to advocate for the forest fire and its prevention. “Formation of inter-agency forest fire coordinating groups at gewog level to respond to fire and awareness-raising through media are our plans to continue advocating on fire safety in the country.”

Thimphu Fire and Rescue Services Division recorded 14 incidences of forest fire in 2022, of which nine were in Thimphu, four in Paro, and one in Bumthang.

According to an official from the fire and rescue division, the division has well-equipped facilities and units in which the staff are well-trained in “prevention and control fire as well as conduct fire safety awareness among the people.”

Chief Planning Officer of DeSuung, Tandin Dorji, said that 89 de-suups who are trained in fire safety took part in containing the fire.

“Responding to an emergency has improved over time resulting in minimization of fire suppression time. A total of 134 de-suups in the country are trained through DeSuung Fire Service who are an important asset during such incidents,” he said.