In the afternoon of 8th April (Sunday), fire razed the pine forest above the Yangchenphug HSS. The firefighters stopped battling the fire around 6:30 pm on Sunday evening and started at 5 am on Monday morning (Kuensel). BBS reported that the fire was contained on Monday.
Forestry officials are of the opinion that the fire could have been started by smokers, as there is no human settlement in that area (BBS). In the due course of battling the forest fire, two policemen from the Royal Bhutan Police, Thimphu lost their lives on the way to the forest fire site when the Police Truck they were riding went off the road near Jamyang resort. Seventeen others were injured (Kuenselonline.com).
Blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) forest are highly susceptible to fire and especially during this time of the year (November to May) in western part of the country is considered as the fire season (Dorji, 2006). To know more about Forest Fire situation in Bhutan follow this link: http://www.fire.uni-freiburg.de/iffn/iffn_34/07-IFFN-34-Bhutan.pdf
The Board of Directors, Staff and Members of RSPN express our sincere condolences for the victims and pray for the recovery of the seventeen injured policemen.
Reported by Tshering Phuntsho. (Picture courtesy: http://kuenselonline.com)