A major forest fire in Phubana village of Shaba gewog under Paro destroyed more than 100 acres of blue pine forest along with oak shrubs yesterday.
The forest fire was contained after police, army, foresters along with some volunteers battled the fire for almost eight hours. The cause of the fire is not known.
The Chief Forest Officer (CFO) of Paro, Kaka Tshering, in a telephone interview said though the cause of the fire is not yet known, they suspect the fire might have been started by the burning of agricultural debris.
“We are yet to carry out the investigation along with the assessment of the damage,” CFO said.
The most common cause of the forest fires is the burning of agricultural debris by farmers who do not follow the proper procedures and guidelines.
Though the actual area of the forest damage is not known, the CFO said more than 100 acres might have been destroyed by the fire.
CFO also mentioned that the fire would have been contained earlier but due to steep forest area and windy conditions in the morning made it difficult for them to battle the fire.
According to him, this is the first major forest fire in Paro though there were few minor forest fire in past.
There are no casualties reported due to the fire. Prior to this, another fire in Paro, which had occurred in an orchard, was contained just few days back.
Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Lhuentse, Trashigang, Bumthang are frequently prone to forest fires.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu