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A small community makes fire line. Yuelsum Community Forest is one small CF, located in southren part of Bhutan.

It was on the 10th of December, when our geog (block or village) Ranger led the Yuelsum (it is one of the community forest name located in Tsirang, Bhutan) CF members to Block no III of the CF (Sallari). There were 50 members in all. Today was the special day as the activity that was to take place soon will mark the end of the Yuelsum CF management plan activity for the year 2009.

 It was 9am in the morning when the members gathered at the base of the Sallari hill. All were equipped with the necessary tool. Some had spades while some carried sickles and hoes. Briefing on how to clear the forest area and how to create the fire line was made clear to the members by the Forest Ranger. The reason for the fire line creation during winter season was also explained. The planning on how long the distance and the width of the fire line should be created that day was announced by the accountant as both the head of the CF, (chairman and secretary) were not present for today’s activity. They were both busied with some other official works. The members were divided into four groups. Each of the group was to complete 125mtrs by end of the day. The geog Ranger appointed supervisors each from the group.

 

Members making fire line in the Yuelsum CF.

 The work began at 0930hrs. Each group was further divided into two groups for the efficiency of the work. One group was solely responsible for felling the trees, shrubs, bushes, stones, or whatever was needed to be cleared on the way whereas other group was mainly to clear all the felling done by the first group. They were also responsible for thorough clearing and cleaning of the weeds and the grasses.

As the work began, the sounds of cutting trees, and bushes shattered the silence of the forest. Those birds which were twittering before the action were hurriedly flying away from the site, but it is glad to know that this fire line will protect them in case if there was forest fire in this area. The member’s second group soon followed the first one with another type of music. The clanging and clattering sounds were produced when their spades came upon the stones and pebbles. And the interesting part was when the sand, aided with the gentle breeze, went flying upon the members like sand storm. Within few minutes every one of them were covered with dust, from head to toe. Our Ranger even joked with the women that they need not have to apply fairness cream. The work was hard as most of the dead trees had to be removed including those felled trees, but by this time almost 75% of the work was completed. The work went on actively till 12 noon when everyone requested their supervisors for the recess. All the members sat on the ground, tried, but glancing admiringly to the work that they have done so far.

 

The photo was snapped by the Yulsum CF accountant. Seen in the  picture: Forest Ranger ( in uniform) and the members of the Yuelsum CF.

 

The work for making fire line resume after resting for almost an hour. The nice part was when those groups who had finished their part came to help groups who were lingering behind. And within no time the work was completed with utmost perfection. 500mtrs length with the width of 5mtrs was completed. It was great pride for all the members. The Ranger was proud with the work the members had done.

 

It was 1500hrs when the work was completed. Forest Ranger shared his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all the members.  Finally the accountant of the CF gave vote of thanks for the day and the members were dispersed eventually.