|The HCM city has 35,600ha of forests, in districts 9, Cần Giờ, Bình Chánh, and Củ Chi. VNS Photo Văn Châu
HCM CITY – Patrols will be increased and fire safety promoted by local districts in HCM City and neighboring provinces in an aim to prevent forest fires during the current dry season, the city's Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department has said.
Scrap collection yards in particular are prone to fires during the hot, dry season, with fires spreading very quickly to surrounding areas, causing serious consequences.
In late December, the city’s police asked all 24 districts to inspect scrap collection yards in their localities, and to strictly handle violators of fire prevention regulations.
The city is working with districts to permanently remove discarded material sites in residential areas, and will suspend operations for repeated violations and anyone operating without a permit.
Fires often occur from simple actions such as burning incense or votive papers without proper supervision, or from using electrical equipment and devices that have not been maintained properly.
Residential homes, particularly those used for both living and trading purposes, pose a high risk of fire since they store many flammable items that often block fire exits, according to the department.
Colonel Huỳnh Văn Quyến, deputy head of the Bình Chánh District Police Department, said that district authorities should work with local agencies to inspect fire safety in all households and household businesses, and take measures to reduce fire risks.
The city’s electricity sector should also offer support to repair any problems with power systems, and the water supply sector should install fire hydrants in residential areas and near household businesses.
Local residents need to be educated about fire regulations and the best ways to prevent fires, he said.
To raise public awareness, fire prevention and fighting police will increase the number of training courses on fire prevention in residential areas, said Quyến. The training will be accompanied by drills that involve the participation of local residents.
In Đồng Nai Province, the risk of forest fires in Đồng Nai has reached the fifth and highest level since there has been no rain for a long time and the weather is hot and dry, according to the province’s Forest Protection Sub-department.
In Tân Phú and Thống Nhất districts, they are at levels three and four while in Biên Hòa City, towns and other districts, it is at the highest level.
The sub-department has called on relevant agencies and forest caretakers to implement all recommended measures to prevent forest fires.
They have made firebreaks in forests and cut grass and other vegetation in high-risk places.
They have also increased patrols and are keeping watch round the clock from watchtowers.
Forest rangers are conducting fire drills and fining people who violate fire safety regulations.
The authorities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are also setting up firebreaks, preparing equipment and putting up warning boards as the area’s forests face a high risk of fire in the dry season.
An Giang provincial authorities have raised the fire risk to the fourth level, out of a total of five, as the risk of large forest fires increases, especially in cajuput forests in mountainous districts.
The province has prepared firefighting facilities, including trucks to transport firefighters, fire extinguishers, pumps, and water containers on the top of mountains.
The dry, hot weather could lead to forest fires in the mountainous areas of Thoại Sơn, Tri Tôn and Tịnh Biên districts and Châu Đốc City.
The province has 16,868ha of forested land, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In Cà Mau, the Forest Protection Sub-department has made preparations during the dry season which normally lasts between November and May.
The province has set up plans to use available staff and facilities to fight forest fires, including more than 100 pumps, water pipes with a total length of 63,000m, and 12 fire trucks.
It has installed 25 warning boards at crossroads and near forests, and set up 64 permanent fire watching towers and 23 temporary towers in forests to monitor forest fires.
Besides natural occurrences such as lightning, human activities like burning fields, harvesting honey and hunting wild animals are the major causes behind forests fires in Cà Mau.
Cà Mau’s Forest Protection Sub-department has also increased the number of patrols so that fires can be extinguished quickly before they spread.
The province’s forest management boards have encouraged local households living near forests to take steps to prevent fires in the dry season and clear flammable materials around their houses.
Cà Mau has more than 53,000ha of forests in the U Minh Hạ National Park and islands, which have a high risk of forest fires in the dry season. — VNS