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Forest fire under control

Kingathang, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang The Kingathang forest fire in Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang, which burned for two whole days and nights, was brought under control at around nine last morning.

More than 400 people were deployed to contain the fire that is estimated to have damaged over 6,000 acres of blue pine forest.

“We were finally able to extinguish the fire completely,” Phobjikha beat office’s forester, Damber Bdr Chhetri, said.

The fire, which began in a government reserved forest area, also burnt down several acres of community forest, where blue pine is protected.

The fire started on January 29 at around 10:30 in the morning, when three students aged seven, nine and 12, attempted to make a small fire, using the matches some pilgrims, who visited Kilkhorthang nye (sacred site), had left behind.

They told foresters that they made the fire to warm themselves.  Kilkhorthang is a 30-minute uphill walk from Phobjikha valley.  Forest officials said penalties would be imposed, based on forest rules and regulations.

By Tenzin Namgyel, Wangdue

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