A fire that broke out over the weekend in a forest in Sichuan’s Ngaba prefecture burned out of control this week before finally being extinguished by firefighters and volunteers on Tuesday, Tibetan sources said.
The fire, whose cause has not yet been determined, began on Feb. 4 in a protected area of Thangkor township in Ngaba’s Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo’ergai) county, an area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Feb. 8.
“Hundreds of people including local Tibetans as well as township and county firefighters battled around the clock for days to put out the fire, finally extinguishing it during the evening of Feb. 7,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
No one was harmed in the blaze, though “uncounted numbers” of wildlife and livestock were killed before the fire was put out, the source said, adding that the area that burned—called Zachu Ma or the Beri Longpa Highlands—was often visited by Tibetans collecting firewood.
“The forest is a protected area under the administration of the local forestry department,” RFA’s source said.
“Hence, no logging or deforestation was ever allowed there, and no road led to the area that could be easily traveled.”
“This inaccessibility along with high winds made it very difficult to put out the fire,” he said.
In appreciation of volunteers’ efforts to battle the blaze, local authorities awarded a sum of 30,000 yuan (U.S. $4,367) to be divided among them, the source said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.