Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Administration of Forestry (VAF) has urged localities nationwide to take drastic measures to prevent and control forest fires, given the hot and dry weather in the country.
Several localities were issued the highest level of alert, according to the VAF. Forest fires have been recorded in a number of localities such as Bình Thuận, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Lai Châu, Điện Biên and Hải Phòng.
A huge forest fire suddenly occurred in the Tà Củ Mountain Nature Reserve in south central Bình Thuận Province on Saturday evening. More than 30ha of forests were completely destroyed before the flames were extinguished at around 4am on Sunday.
More than 100 local people and rescuers attended the scene to actively participate in forest fire prevention and control the blaze; however, they suffered difficulties accessing the site due to powerful sustainable winds.
In an urgent message sent to localities on Sunday, the VAF asked authorities at the grassroot levels to promote communication works on firefighting among the residents, while keeping forces ready round the clock to combat fires.
Roles must be assigned to members of all-level steering boards of the national target programme on sustainable forestry development to enhance inspections. Meanwhile, military and police forces were ordered to stand ready to offer assistance in case of fires.
Forest ranger teams should work with people’s committees to direct and examine efforts to prevent forest fires, while forest owners are responsible for upgrading the firefighting facilities.
Localities must monitor forest fire warnings on the forest protection department’s website: kiemlam.org.vn, and any forest fire should be reported to the forest protection department under the VAF at 098 666 8333.
Officers from Forest Ranger Division in Than Uyên District, northern province of Lai Châu help local residents make preparations to avoid the spread of forest fires. — VNA/VNS Photo Việt Hoàng
The southernmost province of Cà Mau has reported that prolonged hot weather had exposed many areas in the locality to high risk of forest fire. The province has around 30,000ha out of the 43,000ha of cajuput forests that are at high risk of catching fire, according to Head of the provincial Forest Management Department Lê Văn Hải.
Meanwhile, water reserves and water resources from lakes and rivers have dried out due to hot weather, posing challenges to fire prevention and control, he said.
Local authorities have mobilised 500 people, including forest rangers and forest owners, to go on patrols and check forests round the clock, he said. The department has also co-ordinated with local authorities to organise campaigns to raise public awareness about forest fire prevention and control.
The Mekong Delta province of Kiên Giang has seven areas that face fire risks — the U Minh Thượng National Park, Phú Quốc National Park, Phú Quốc protective forest, Hòn Đất–Kiên Hà protective forest, An Biên–An Minh coastal protective forest, and a forest managed by the 422 Forestry Plantation Project.
The provincial People’s Committee has issued orders to strengthen the fire prevention measures. Kiên Giang has 86,450ha of zoned forests, accounting for 13.6 per cent of its total area, according to its forest protection sub-department.
It has spent more than VNĐ10 billion (US$440,000) on preparations to prevent forest fires this year.
The dry season started from March in the Central Highlands and the southern provinces.
Annually, the northern and central provinces are often hit by some 12 hot spells. This year, it is forecast that fewer hot drives will occur, and they will only last for a few days. However, it is likely that a hot spell, as severe as that in 2017, will hit Việt Nam, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre.
In the 2017 summer season, Việt Nam was hit by 15 hot spells on a large scale. In some localities, the temperature was recorded upwards of 41 to 42 degrees centigrade. — VNS