NGHE AN — Vinh City Police in the central province of Nghe An have arrested two people who allegedly caused a fire on Quyet Mountain on Monday evening.
HA NOI — Fines worth VND12 billion (US$577,000) were paid in fines for deforestation to the State budget in July, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This month, police dealt with 787 deforestation cases and seized 692m3 of timber illegally logged. — VNS
Nguyen Thi Than, 56 and Nguyen Huu Sang, 24, left ceremonial papers burning next to their relatives' graves on the mountain that sparked the blaze.
Within two hours, the fire destroyed 3ha of protective forest.
Deputy head of the city police Mai Chien Thang said that Than and Sang might face criminal proceedings.
Meanwhile, forest fires had ravaged the central province of Thua Thien-Hue this month, destroying nearly 60ha of forests, according to the provincial People's Committee.
Last Monday alone, six fires broke out in Hue City's An Tay Ward after local residents failed to put out paper burned for ceremonial purposes.
On the same day, nearly 70 bombs and bullets in Phong Dien District left over from the wars exploded, and it took firemen three hours to stamp out the fire.
Earlier last Sunday, another fire destroyed nearly 50ha of four-or-five-year-old keo trees planted by 90 local households. Over 100 police, militia and local residents were sent to the scene, but it still took more than six hours to extinguish the blaze.
Deputy chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People's Committee Le Truong Luu said that Phu Loc and Phong Dien districts and Hue City's An Tay Ward were hot spots for forest fires due to the large number of burial sites.
Over the past week, ritual burning of votive papers combined with the hot weather had created ideal conditions for forest fires, he said.
The provincial forest management sector has put great efforts into educating the public about the risks of forest fires, but with little success.
The People's Committee had assigned 20 more guardians to keep watch during the daytime, especially at burial sites, said Luu.
"However, in the long run, raising local residents' awareness and reducing forest fires remains a problem for local authorities," he said. — VNS