Fire destroys thousands of acres of forest in Monggar

A fire which started at Tsangkhar of Drepung Gewog in Monggar has destroyed more than a thousand acres of forest. The fire erupted on Thursday and has yet to be contained. Meanwhile, the forest fires at Kalapang-Risa Chiwog in Saling Gewog and Sungkara village in Kengkhar Gewog were contained.

More than 400 volunteers including officials from the Office of the Gyaltshab, the Monggar District Administration, the army and police, teachers, DeSuups, the Kurichhu hydropower project and local communities are battling the fire in Drepung Gewog.

They created a fire line to protect the Woop Community School and Woop Lhakhang in the Gewog.

According to the District Administration, volunteers are also deployed in different areas to control the fire from spreading toward Monggar Gewog.

“We deployed a fire tanker from the RBP and Kurichhu Hydropower Project to protect the settlement. We create a fire line so that we break the fire and stop it from spreading toward the settlement. And we also started the backfiring process which ignites the fire from that location to where the fire comes and it burns in the middle. So that way it saves the structures and human life,” said Lungten Jamtsho, Monggar Dzongda.

‘‘In Drepoong, to stop the fire from spreading all De-Suup and the public cleared the trees and bushes. By looking at the direction of the wind, we were able to change the direction of the fire towards another area, away from the settlement. Therefore, we are very happy that we could save most of the monasteries and temples from getting burnt,” said Pelden Wangchuk, DeSuup.

According to the District Administration, people are being advocated on safety measures to be on the safer side.

Forestry officials said strong wind and steep cliff are hampering the firefighting efforts. The cause of the fire has not known.

Drepung Gewog in Monggar has five chiwogs. The forest fire has affected four chiwogs except for Zunglen.

The forest fires in Saling, Kengkhar and Drepung Gewogs have destroyed thousands of acres of forest in Monggar.

Karma Wangdi, Monggar

Edited by Phub Gyem

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