|Fears sparked: Soldiers help stamp out a forest fire in Hoa Khanh Nam Ward in Da Nang's Lien Chieu District. Many forests in the area are at high risk. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam
HCM CITY (VNS)— Central provinces are taking steps to prevent forest fires as prolonged heat and low humidity are creating a high risk of fires.
In Binh Thuan Province, the fifth and highest warning level has been reached. Bac Binh, Ham Thuan Nam and Tuy Phong districts have the highest risk of forest fires.
The province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has built 446km of firebreaks, five water reservoirs, five fire-watching towers and set up 360 fire-fighting groups.
Tran Ngoc Tan, deputy head of the Bac Binh District People's Committee, said the district had always been careful about fire-prevention and, as a result, had fewer number of fires than other districts in the province.
Most of the district's forests contain dipterocarp trees that drop their leaves during the dry season.
The district's Forest Protection Bureau has assessed the risk levels for each forest owner so they can carry out prevention and control measures.
The bureau has also raised public awareness about forest protection regulations.
In the western areas of Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai, heat and wind from Laos are creating favourable conditions for forest fires.
The central provinces normally have forest fires every year.
Quang Tri Province has gathered army forces, forest rangers and local residents to be ready round-the-clock to combat fires.
Thua Thien – Hue authorities have banned the use of fire in special-use forests.
Thua Thien – Hue has 600,000ha of forests located in the province's western districts.
Of that figure, half are planted forests in which owners often clear grass and other small bushes and cook in the forests, creating forest fire risks.
Local residents who burn incense and votive offerings at the graves of family members is another cause of forest fires, according to the province's Forest Protection Sub-department. — VNS