Central Việt Nam ramp up forest fire prevention measures during prolonged heatwaves

May 30, 2023 - 09:58
The plans focus on a “four on-site” approach, emphasising prevention as the primary strategy and the responsibility of the entire political system and society. 
Forest rangers in Quảng Ngãi on patrol in the forest. — Photo nhandan.vn

QUẢNG NGÃI — The number of forest fires in central Việt Nam this year is not high compared to the previous year, though the risk is still present due to prolonged heatwaves.  

According to Phạm Duy Hưng, director of Quảng Ngãi Province’s Forest Protection Department, the number of forest fires in the locality has decreased gradually over the years. No forest fire has been recorded in this province since early this year.

He noted, however, that these results are not truly sustainable, and the risk of fire is still high. To cope with it during the dry season of 2023, Quảng Ngãi Province has requested the proactive implementation of effective forest fire prevention and control plans that its People’s Committee issued.

The plans focus on a “four on-site” approach, emphasising prevention as the primary strategy and the responsibility of the entire political system and society. 

Since early March, the prolonged heatwaves have occurred intensively, and the risk of forest fires in Quảng Ngãi has remained high and extremely high.

The Forest Protection Department of Quảng Ngãi has consistently issued forecasts to ensure the proactive implementation of response measures.

The department has also organised firefighting drills at the commune level to enhance coordination and tactical cooperation, provide training for the firefighting personnel, establish 24/24 forces at high-risk areas, regularly inspect individuals and vehicles entering the forests, and strengthen control over the handling of forest litter.

The department has also required forest owners to sign the forest fire prevention commitments and be prepared with forces, equipment, and supplies to participate in firefighting efforts. 

Along with the prevention, many areas of Quảng Ngãi Province also have intensified communications efforts to strengthen the awareness and responsibility of departments, organisations, businesses, and the general public regarding fire forest prevention and firefighting. 

The forest protection department director Hưng said that to improve the effectiveness of forest fire prevention and fighting, the department has applied satellite-based monitoring technology to promptly warn of forest fire risk and early detect forest fires.

Forest rangers are always on duty to closely monitor forest areas in the province. When there are warnings of a high risk of fire on satellite images, forest rangers immediately determine the coordinates and request local forest rangers, authorities and forest owners to check the field and verify the fire, whether it is a fire or burning vegetation, before responding to the sub-department within 30 minutes for direction.

“Monitoring forest fires via satellite is a new step, helping the forest rangers and localities to deploy forest fire prevention and control more effectively, to promptly deploy vehicles and forces to the scene to control the fire," Hưng said.

According to officials of Quảng Nam Province, effective prevention measures helped to curb the number of forest fires in the locality.

Despite the prolonged heatwave, the number of forest fires is low thanks to the proactive and effective implementation of forest fire prevention and control, according to the director of the provincial Forest Protection Department of Quảng Nam, Trần Văn Thu.

He said that since early this year, the department had issued directives and provided recommendations to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People's Committee of the province to ask residents, grassroots units and land owners to intensify their forest fire prevention and control efforts. 

The department also provides information to the locals and forest owners to get updated about forest fire warnings through the forest management and monitoring system.

They timely disseminate forecasts about fires, especially updating on the Zalo application to proactively carry out the prevention and control measures.

Since early 2023, only one fire has significantly damaged over 20 hectares of planted forest in Thăng Bình District. 

The fire was discovered as the authorities were on patrol in the coastal protection forest area of Lạc Cầu Hamlet, Bình Dương Commune in Thăng Bình District (Quảng Nam Province). The commune mobilised over 50 personnel and firefighting vehicles to extinguish the fire. — VNS