Government seeksnational, international aid to combat raging forest fires
Kien Giang 4 April2002 – Te Government is making every effort to combat a forest fire threateningthousands of hectares of cajeput in U Minh Thuong National Park in the Cuu Long(Mekong) Delta.
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has asked the chairman of the Kien Giang PeoplesCommittee to co-ordinate with ministries and provincial authorities in the deltato fight the fire.
On Tuesday the prime minister instructed the Defence and Public Securityministries to send search and rescues teams, along with fire brigades andmilitary forces, to help put the fire under control.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Science,Technology and Environment were called upon to enlist aid from other countriesand international organisations to combat the fire.
The Government has approved financial support of VND3 billion to combat the UMinh Thuong fire.
These instructions were given in response to efforts made by Kien Giang Provinceto combat the latest blaze, which broke out on Monday afternoon, 10 hours afterthe previous forest fire was extinguished.
The blaze crossed the 8m wide Canal No. 14 and hit a patch of 20-year oldcajeput forest around Hoa Mai Lake in U Minh Thuong National Park.
On Monday and Tuesday, Kien Giang firemen and forest rangers were unable tocontrol the blaze; it destroyed some 150ha of forest in the area.
Thick smoke from the forest fire is obstructing fire-fighting operations, anddelayed traffic at Phu Quoc Airport on Tuesday.
To combat the forest fire, threatening all of U Minh Thuong Forest, provincialauthorities in Kien Giang have mobilised all tractors and pumps ownedbyresidents in the districts of An Bien, An Minh and Vinh Thuan.
The Kien Giang Peoples Committee also asked the Defence Ministry to sendhelicopters to help douse the flames.
The Kien Giang Provincial Army sent 100 soldiers to help contain the blaze.
General director of the Viet Nam Forest Rangers Department, Nguyen Ba Thu,requested that provincial forest ranger divisions assist Kien Giang by providingfire-fighting equipment.
Source: Viet Nam News (VNS) http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/
Vietnam sends in troopsto fight forest fire
Hanoi, 5 April 2002 -Vietnam has sent in hundreds of soldiers to help fight a forest fire that hasdestroyed half a national park in a drought-hit southern province, a governmentofficial said yesterday.
Truong Quoc Tuan, chairmanof the People’s Committee in Kien Giang province, told Reuters the fire brokeout this week and had destroyed 4,200 hectares of forest in a 8,500-hectarenational park in the coastal province. “The fire is deep in the U MinhThuong forest and it looks like it did in wartime after bombs weredropped,” Tuan said. Tuan said 200 soldiers were sent in this week to joina 200-strong force of militia members and residents of Kien Giang to fight thefire in an area six km by seven km. The firefighters hadmanaged to control the blaze although it was still burning in an isolated area.”By yesterday we managed to separate the blaze from the remaining forest bydigging a canal seven km long,” he said. “The most dangerous factor isthe wind, as it helps spread the flames very quickly while the weather has beendry,” he said.
Southern Vietnam isenduring its worst dry spell since the El Nino weather pattern struck the regionin 1998. “A large part of our primitive forest with biological and historicvalue has been burnt. We are not yet able to estimate the cost of thedamage,” Tuan said.
The cause of the fire wasnot known. An investigation would be launched later, he said. Government weatherforecasters have said the rainy season is expected to arrive in late April orearly May, about a month later than usual. They said the El Nino pattern thatusually causes drought in the region, might begin in July. Yesterday’s official NguoiLao Dong (Labourer) newspaper said various government officials met in KienGiang this week to assess fire control and prevention measures.
Source: Reuters NewsService
This image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 29 March 2002 showing fires burning in thesouthern part of Viet Nam. The large smoke palls in the very South of Viet Namoriginate from U MinhThuong National Park
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This image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 4 April 2002 showing fires burning in thesouthern part of Viet Nam and Hainan (PR China). The large smoke palls in thevery South from Viet Nam originate in UMinh Thuong National Park
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