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Asia Fire News

20210523 Compensation to be sought for Yushan fire

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Taiwan Jan 19 2022 “Forest”

Dead : dead 0 or unknown Burnout : 0 or unknown Injured : injured 0 or unknown

Compensation to be sought for Yushan fire

Updated: 2021-05-23

A firefighter works in Yushan National Park in Chiayi County on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of the Chiayi Forest District Office via CNA

Compensation would be demanded from a hiker after he allegedly sparked an ongoing blaze that has consumed 65 hectares of forest at Yushan National Park, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.

The fire was reported on Sunday last week, when about 1.5 hectares of forest were on fire, and has spread to bushland at higher altitudes.

COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) wrote on Facebook that the council intends to hold the people involved responsible, “regardless of station or rank,” citing Article 53 of the Forestry Act (森林法).

Accidentally setting a forest fire is punishable by up to two years in prison, a term commutable to a fine of no more than NT$300,000 (US$10,737), the act says.

National Communications Commission senior specialist Joseph Chiao (喬建中) on Friday said he started the fire when he accidentally tipped over a gas stove while cooking breakfast at a campground.

He tried to stamp out the fire to no avail and then called the authorities to report the incident, Chiao wrote.

The total cost of fighting the fire is likely to surpass NT$10 million, a figure that does not include environmental harm, Chen said.

Ministry of the Interior and military helicopters have been dousing flames, which costs at least NT$200,000 per flight, and more for heavier types of aircraft, such as the army’s MH-47s, he said.

Although the fire has been brought under control, Chen said he is praying for rain to help quickly douse the blaze.

There have been 60 forest fires this year, with 98.1 percent of the incidents attributed to human activity, including discarded cigarettes, burning joss paper, fireworks and burning of weeds or trash, Chen said, citing council data.

A water shortage has played a role in making fires more prevalent, he said, adding that the council is using sensors and lookouts in Aboriginal communities to spot blazes.

People must be careful with fires while in forest areas, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

Web Source: Taipei Times

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2021/05/23/2003757898

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