Forest fire plays havoc in Thimphu
With at least four fire incidents reported within two days in the capital, the government’s only helicopter helped doused two major fires at Sangaygang and Samazingkha as of yesterday.
Fire at Sangaygang, which started on February 12, was contained on the same day, while Samazingkha’s fire that broke from a riverside was also contained with the aid of helicopter, arm forces, desuung, forest officials and volunteers after battling for hours.
The police along with their parents had questioned the two youths, who are suspected to have started the fire.
The youth who are under 15 years told police that the fire got spread, while they were playing with a matchbox near the riverside.
The fire, which started at around 12pm, destroyed around 10 acres of forest that has newly planted trees.
The government’s helicopter service on time saved few houses that lie along the fire line. Tandin nye was also safe.
Unlike the fire at San- gaygang, where the area is covered with thick forest, fire fighters at Samazingkha had easy access to the spot with road connection and less grown trees. “It was easy for us to reach on time as the area is mostly covered with dry grasses,” said one desuup volunteer.
Fire brigades were also able to engaged from different spots as it was within reach from the road points.
The fire at Sangaygang which begun at around 12pm was brought under control after few hours, destroyed around 20 acres of forest. One volunteer injured after he fall down from a clip.
Fire was suspected to be caused by a discarded cigarette butt as some eyewitness saw a couple leaving the spot before the fire broke.
On the first day of its fire- fighting mission, the pilot of the chopper had to change several spots to refill its bucket, after public came too close to the spot. However, the helicopter could refill from the previous spot near Centennial Park yesterday, as public were not allowed to get near.
It was apparent from the previous day that the water dropped from the chopper had helped dose off the fire on the ground. Yesterday too, the chopper service was essential to battle. The bucket has a capacity of 1,000 litres.
Had it not been for helicopter’s help, it would have been difficult for us to control the fire from catching the houses and the nye said a fire fighter, who was volunteering near the house.
However, after putting control at Samazingkhag, helicopter had to again do several trips towards Sangaygang as smoke was seen from the same spot.