Wildfire breaks out on Lishan, spreads over 2.5 hectares

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — A forest fire broke out in the mountainous area of Lishan in Taichung, central Taiwan, on Sunday and quickly spread over 2.5 hectares of forest, according to the Dongshih Forest District Office.

As of press time, the fire was still raging, as firefighters were battling problems such as steep cliffs in the area and limited access to water, the office said.

The office said that after its Lishan work station received a report at 8 a.m. of the fire, 12 firefighters were deployed to the affected Chiayang forest area in Lishan and a request was made for aerial firefighting support.

The firefighters on the ground encountered some problems of access because of the steep cliffs in the area and limited water supply, the office said.

Two Black Hawk firefighting helicopters from the National Airborne Service Corps joined the efforts, making 25 trips to bring a total of 50 tonnes of water from Techi Reservoir to the scene of the fire, according to the office.

Taichung firefighter Tsai Shih-fang (蔡石芳), who was on the ground, said his team was trying to draw water from a river and from the irrigation systems of fruit farmers.

If necessary, the firefighters will carry a 70-100 liter water bucket on each shoulder and walk to the site to try to put out the fire, he said.

The fire was raging in a forest 1,600 meters above sea level, in an area that is home to indigenous people and several animal species, including the Formosan Reeve’s muntjac, monkeys, and birds.

As of press time, there were no reports of injury to people or animals in the area.

In the period October to April, the area is usually vulnerable to wildfires, due the strong winds and dry weather, according to the Dongshih Forest District Office.

From 2018 to 2019, 25 fires broke out in areas under its jurisdiction, the office said, adding that it usually takes about two to three days to put out the fires.