|ao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently instructed citizens to prevent forest fires and urged them to make it a top priority during this dry season.— Photo baogialai
HA NOI (VNS) — Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently instructed citizens to prevent forest fires and urged them to make it a top priority during this dry season.
Forest fire prevention is of the utmost importance and is relevant in this age of complicated and high tech development, which creates a greater risk of fires during this season from October 2013 to June 2014.
In 2013, 241 forest fires occurred nationwide, destroying a total of 932 hectares, mainly in the central highland provinces and the south central coast localities.
The minister asked each locality to actively implement regulations on the protection of forests and the prevention of fires as well as the need for fire fighting.
He also wanted them to intensify legal education and communication about the dangers of fires and to teach people the procedures they needed to learn to reduce fires.
The minister also instructed inter-sector agencies including forest rangers, the police and army forces to co-operate with the authorities at all levels to mobilise human resources and fire fighting equipment for a timely response to forest fires.
The local authorities were asked to improve the management of farming activities, especially in the areas of clearing new land for shifting cultivation, as well as for increasing control and organising fire pickets to take timely action and tackle fires if they were to happen.
Related agencies and people were asked to keep track of the forest fire situation via the forest protection department's early warning system for forest fires on the website kiemlam.org.vn or by calling 098.6668333.
The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai suffered the most during the last dry season, with four fires destroying 400 hectares of forest land.
In an interview with Viet Nam News about the province's plan to respond in a timely manner to fires that break out during the dry season, Nguyen Huu Long, head of forest management and protection office of the provincial sub-department of forest rangers, said that the province would tighten management this year, learn from past experiences, and increase education to raise awareness amongst the residents about the dangers created by fires.
However, one of the difficulties the province is currently facing is the lack of funds to invest in afforestation initiatives, fire-fighting equipment, and technology, he added. — VNS