Man killed while combating forest fire

A 37-year old man died on May 17 when he plunged down a cliff while combating a raging forest fire at Chaskar in Mongar.

The wildfire, which has already consumed around 300 hectares, began in the late hours of Thursday; May 14.The focus of the fire was in a ravine called Wagombrak along the Chaskar-Thangrong farm road.

Upon receiving the information about the forest fire, the forest officials along with 20 people from the nearest village called Yetong, had gone to the forest fire site and saw that the blazing fire had already crossed to the upper side of the road.

However, before heading to the forest fire site the beat in charge, had advised the public on approaching the fire site and combating it.

“Despite the cautionary note by the people and me, he did not pay any heed and started climbing the cliff,” said the beat in charge.

The deceased is known to have mounted the cliff to fight the forest fire but when he scaled about 40 feet he fell down on the road.

According to the Chief Forestry Officer, gusty winds in different directions would have surprised the deceased. The flames also may have closed his path, forcing him to retreat.

He was immediately evacuated from the scene and taken to the nearest Basic Health Unit (BHU) in Chaskar at 4:45pm and, the people called for an ambulance for further referral to the Mongar Regional Referral Hospital after the condition of the deceased was deteriorating.

However, the deceased died after six hours of agony at around 7pm in the BHU before the people could refer him to the Mongar hospital.

The deceased has five children, three sons and two daughters. The Division gave the deceased family Nu 10,000 in the presence of the village Tshogpa and the officials from the Department of Forest and Park Services.

The division also said that they would render absolute assistance to the deceased family for the cremation.

Forest officials are still investigating the probable cause of the fire.

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