Short circuit sparks massive forest fire at Chuzom

Fire: A forest fire that began at Chuzom was burning uncontrollably towards Paro and Thimphu as of last night.

The smoke from the fire even covered Thimphu city for a few hours.

More than a thousand acres have already been destroyed.

Firefighters included personnel of the army, police, and forest department who battled the fire that began at around 2pm until nightfall, when efforts had to be suspended.

The fire was caused by an electric shot circuit on a transmission line located on the hill opposite the chuzom check post.

While immediate containment attempts were made by both police and forest personnel based at the Chuzum check post, strong winds fanned the fire and lead to its rapid spread.

Police officials said that the nearest village of Kharekphu was safe and out of danger.

A forest department official said that firefighting efforts would resume at daybreak. One team will attack the fire from Paro while two teams will advance from the Thimphu side.

The forest official said that no villages were in danger as of yesterday.

The government’s helicopter attempted to join the fight but could not given strong winds.

RBHS CEO Chhewang Gyeltshen said that the helicopter returned after its first attempt because the valley was found to be too narrow and many unmarked wires were also in the area.

He said that the helicopter will be dispatched to fight the fire today if required.

This is the fifth forest fire to occur in the last four days.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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