Bhutan

Bhutan Disaster Reponse - Situation Report (SitRep) 1: Forest fire

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Situation Overview

  • Several hectares of forest area got burnt down during two major forest fire incident in Thimphu on 12 and 13 February 2016.
  • The first forest fire occurred at Sangaygang around 12 pm on 12th February and destroyed approximatively 8 hectares of forest area. A smaller fire close by Wangchuck Resort in Taba occurred around 3 pm but was successfully controlled with the help of volunteers.
  • Another major fire destroyed approximately 15 hectares of plantation and nearby forested area above Samarzingkha on 13th February 2016. The fire destroyed saplings and asparagus plantation initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests in 2015.
  • While the Sangaygang fire is suspected to have been caused by a discarded cigarette butt left by visitors, the actual cause of the fire is being investigated by the Royal Bhutan Police. However, the fire at Samarzingkha was started by a group of children playing in the nearby area.
  • Several fire engines supported by hundreds of armed forces, forest firefighters, locals and DeSuups volunteers (quasi-military emergency response team) managed to contain the blaze.
  • For the first time, the government deployed the helicopter of Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services in combating the forest fire in Sangaygang and Samarzingkha area.
  • No casualties and damages to properties have been reported.