|Tràm Chim National Park’s forest rangers patrol forests. – VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Trí|
ĐỒNG THÁP – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp is tightening measures to prevent forest fires as many forests face risks at the third to the fifth level.
The province has more than 12,000ha of forested area, mostly in Tân Hồng, Tam Nông, Tháp Mười and Cao Lãnh districts, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Tháp Mười has about 3,000ha of forests, locating mostly in Bắc Tháp Mười environmental protective forests, Động Cát cajuput forests and the Gò Tháp special national heritage. The forest areas have fourth and fifth fire risks.
Nguyễn Văn Thích, deputy head of the Tháp Mười District - Cao Lãnh District Forest Protection Bureau, said the bureau had urged forest owners to strengthen protection of forests and prevent people from entering forests without permission.
The bureau has assigned staff to work at fire watch towers around the clock, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Hội, a forest owner in Tháp Mười’s Trường Xuân Commune, said he regularly reminds his workers about forest protection regulations in the dry season.
In the Tràm Chim National Park, which covers a total area of 7,313ha and grows mostly cajuput trees in Tam Nông District, forests are at the third and fifth risk level.
Bùi Văn Son, deputy head of the province’s Forest Protection Sub-department, said Gò Cát, Gò Châu, Gò Lau Vôi and Gò Tre areas in the park’s Zone A1 face the fifth fire risk level as the areas border with residential areas and farming areas.
“The park’s other areas are at the third fire risk level,” he said.
Nguyễn Thế Hanh, deputy director of the park, said officials and staffs in the park have carried out several measures to prevent forest fires since the beginning of the year.
The park has made fire breaks, cut grasses to reduce inflammable materials, and clear water-ferns and water hyacinths in canals to ensure the travel of boats and other facilities for preventing and controlling fires.
The park’s staff have regularly inspected sluices and dams to prevent water leakage, and dredged water ways that lead water into ponds and reservoirs to increase water storage for fire prevention and control.
Tràm Chim is a Ramsar wetlands site of international importance. It is the fourth Ramsar site in Việt Nam and the 2,000th in the world.
Nguyễn Phước Thiện, deputy director of the department, has asked local forest management authorities to enhance training for forest fire prevention, and strengthen inspection and fire prevention and control measures.
Forest management units in co-operation with the communes' People’s Committees and farming households around forests should set up schedules to burn rice fields after harvesting, and prepare human resources and facilities to prevent fires spreading into forests when burning rice fields, he said.
Forest owners who offer tourism services have to strictly manage the use of fire when taking tourists into the forests, he said. – VNS