In 2017-18 year, Paro lost more than 8,000 acres of state forest reserve. This is according to the record with Forest Fire Management, Forest Protection and Enforcement Division.
Records with the department showed that 37 forest fire incidences in 12 dzongkhags destroyed more than 16,000 acres of state forest reserve.
With the total of nine forest fire incidents, Wangdue lost the second highest forest reserve of about 2,400 acres, followed by Mongar that lost about 2,200 acres of forest reserve to five forest fire incidents.
Safe for Gasa, Bumthang, Trongsa, Zhemgang, Sarpang, Tsirang, Samtse, and Samdrupjongkhar other dzongkhag recorded at least one-forest fire incidence.
A total of 16,214 acres of state forest reserve was lost in the year 2017-18 with 37 forest fire incidences in 12 dzongkhags.
The status of forest fires in Bhutan published in annual Druk Ranger magazine reported that the maximum number of forest fires was caused due human errors.
Of the total 37 forest fires incidences, 10 were caused by anthropogenic activities, four from electric short circuits, two from agriculture debris burning, two from picnicker, one each from cattle herders and smokers.
Forest fire caused by electric short circuits – 11 percent – was the highest, followed by agriculture debris burning at five percent and by picnickers at five percent.
“The most significant threat to Bhutan’s forest is the occurrence of forest fires which destroys thousands of acres of forest every year, the effect on biodiversity especially through destruction in habitat causing the loss of endangered flora and fauna, the loss of infrastructure and assets and risk to human livelihood due to the forest fires are of great concern,” stated the report.
No forest fire incident was reported in the months of July, August and September last year. At least 14 forest fire incidences were reported between February and March.
Of about 16,000 acres of forest lost last year, 10,000 acres of Blue Pine forest were lost to forest fires, followed by more than 6,000 Chir Pine forest. However, the highest number of forest fire – 21 – was reported in Chir Pine forest.
The Annual Forestry Facts and Figures for the year 2016 reported that total of 72 fire incidences damaged 21,057.5 acres of forest areas in the same year. The country saw a total of 216 forest fires razing 96,044 acres.
The highest number of forest fires – 66 – occurred in 2013-2014, which damaged 46,694 acres of forests.