HÀ NỘI – Prolonged dry weather has put many parts of Việt Nam at a risk of forest fires, the Forest Protection Department warned.
On Monday, the department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked provinces and cities to tighten inspections and supervision on forest fire fighting and prevention.
The department also named 16 localities across the country at highest risk of forest fires. Most are in the central and Central Highlands regions, including Bình Phước, Ninh Thuận, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai and Lâm Đồng.
The southern provinces of Đồng Nai, Tây Ninh, Cà Mau and An Giang, and the northern province of Hòa Bình are also hotspots for forest fires.
On Wednesday afternoon, a fire broke out at the cajuput forest in Trà Đa Commune, Pleiku City in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
It took firefighters about two hours to get the fire under control, but the fire recurred a few hours later due to dry weather and strong winds.
Đậu Văn Huy, head of the provincial police’s search and rescue team, said there could be mines or bombs from war time in the area where the fire broke out. Firefighters could not directly extinguish the fire, but they isolated it to ensure the safety of the surrounding areas. The fire was relatively controlled as of 3 a.m. yesterday.
Another fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in Trạm Tấu District in the northern province of Yên Bái. It also spread to Sơn La Province.
As of yesterday morning, about 500 firefighters and rescuers were working to extinguish the fire and had successfully controlled it in Yên Bái, according to a Vietnam News Agency reporter.
They also helped neighbouring Sơn La Province deal with the fire.
Đào Văn Nguyên, chairman of the People’s Committee in Sơn La Province’s Phù Yên District where the fire spread, said that they found the fire difficult to approach. It was at a height of 1,200 metres on sloping land near no roads.
It took firefighters about seven hours to reach the scene, including four hours on foot, he said. -- VNS