VIETNAM – Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has asked municipal and provincial People’s Committees to take drastic measures to ensure forest fire prevention amid extremely hot weather.
In a letter issued on June 1, Hoan proposed leaders of the People’s Committees of the provinces and central-level cities direct local authorities and agencies to ensure strict forest fire prevention and fighting, alongside forest inspection and supervision to prevent and fight forest fires and minimise damage caused by forest fires.
Localities were asked to check forces, equipment, supplies, and funds for fire forest fighting as well as assign patrol forces to be on duty during the dry hot season and arrange checkpoints in the areas with a high risk of fire to control people entering and leaving forests.
The patrol forces would be responsible for detecting fires and mobilise forces to extinguish them before they spread widely.
Localities were told to prepare plans for moving people out of dangerous areas, ensuring people’s safety and the safety of property when a forest fire occurs.
Communications work must also be enhanced to increase people’s awareness and responsibility in forest fire prevention, while authorities must guide people how to control the use of fire in and near forests, especially burning for cultivation.
The People’s Committees of provinces and cities were also told to direct agencies to investigate and strictly handle any law violations relating to forest fires.
Localities must regularly monitor forest fire warning information on the Forest Protection Department’s early fire warning information system at the website kiemlam.org.vn and report to the department as soon as a forest fire occurs.
The Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Public Security were asked to devise plans to aid forest fire fighting and mobilise forces and equipment for fire forest fighting upon request.
Intense heat and dryness have been occurring on a large scale recently, especially in the central region, so the risk of forest fires is very high in many localities and many forests.
Recently, forest fires occurred in the central provinces of Nghe An, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue, causing serious damages to forests and environment, and badly affecting the lives of people in the areas.
Nghe An province’s Steering Committee for Urgent Issues on Forest Protection and Development, and Forest Fire Prevention and Fighting, has warned the risk of forest fires in the province were at alarm levels four and five (i.e extremely dangerous levels) due to a heat wave from May 31 to June 6.
The committee suggested local authorities, forest rangers, and forest owners prepare drastic measures for forest fire prevention and control including 24 hour-patrol forces and mobile forest rangers to detect and control fires, and strictly forbid the use of fire to clear vegetation or other activities that have the potential to cause forest fires.
The province faced fires on June 1 in a forest in Quynh Lap commune and on May 30 in a forest in Dien Loc commune of Dien Chau district. The exact causes of the fires have yet to be determined.
Along with forest fire prevention and control works in forests near residential areas, provincial authorities have prepared plans to evacuate people out of dangerours areas.
Meanwhile, forests in the northern province of Ninh Binh are at level three on the fire alarm system due to the dry and hot weather, according to head of the Ninh Bình Forest Protection Department, Nguyen Van Duong.
The province has more than 23,740ha of forest, mainly in the districts of Nho Quan, Yen Mo, Gia Vien and Hoa Lu, and Tam Diep city.
Every year, after dry spells in winter and prolonged heat in summer, the risk of forest fires was very high, especially forests on limestone mountains in Hoa Lu and Gia Vien districts, said Duong.
If fires began in the forests on limestone mountains, it would be very difficult to extinguish them because fire fighting vehicles would struggle to reach the fire, he said.
Even when the fire trucks could access such fires, the truck’s hose system could not reach high mountain areas and the water cannons would need to be pulled up the mountain, he said.
To strengthen forest fire prevention and fighting, the provincial Forest Protection Department has directed district and commune authorities to run more unscheduled inspections to detect violations and forest fire spots./.