Viet Nam Fire Emergency Update18 April 2002, 11:45 GMT
Situation report by the GFMC On 18 April 2002 it was confirmed to dispatch a fire emergency mission to Viet Nam. The mission will be conductedby a staff member of the GTZ Indonesia-Germany Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) Project based in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The mission aims to assess the current situation and to advise on international emergency support. The mission is conducted following a request by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) andtechnically and financiall supported by GTZ Viet Nam and GTZ-IFFM Indonesia. The mission is coordinated in conjunction with the efforts of and coordinated with UN-OCHA and UNDP Viet Nam and facilitated by the GFMC. Mission start: 20 April 2002. Mission end: 26 April 2002.
Situation Report provided by UNDP Hanoi (transmitted to UN-OCHA and GFMC on 17 April 2002, evening)
Thanks to a torrenttial dowpour lasting two hours rain on Monday 15 April 200, the fire on the surface of the forestin U Minh Thuong Park was almost entirely extinguished. The rain also provided moisture for the last 1,000 ha of primaryforest and about 4,000 ha of newly planted cajeput trees to prevent the smouldering fire from spreading further. Thelatest news that Forest protection department of MARD received from Kien Giang province (on afternoon of 17 April)was that fire was under control. However, fire continues to burn in the peat layer under the surface of the forest andcould set it ablaze again. The fire in U Minh Ha of Ca Mau province continues to spread despite the 8 km long canal that was digged around the fireareas. Strong wind is also a reason for the fire to spread quickly as informed by an official of Ca Mau forestprotection department. So far no estimation can be made how many ha of forest are on fire although local news gave afigure of 3,000 ha of 12-year old cajeput trees that has been razed and another 10,000 ha is being threatened.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)leaders are still in the area to guide the fight against the disaster. About 4,000 soldiers, policemen and local residentare combating the blaze. Firemen have been clearing trees to create fire-break corridors from 30 to 40 m wide to preventthe fire from spreading. The Prime Minister had a meeting with local authorities yesterday urged all forces to takeurgent measures to curb the balze. He also requested MARD and provincial authorities to map out other zoning scheme tobetter protection of the forest in the future and to rehabilitate infrastructure in the affected areas to helpquickly return people’s life to normal once the fire is brough under control.
Latest news from VietnamNews18 April 2002:
Heavy rain offers massive respite to local fire-fighters KIEN GIANG A torrential downpour lasting two hours has doused most of the fire raging through the U Minh Thuong National Park andrevived hopes of saving the nations last primary cajeput forest. Deputy director Do Van Son of thelocal firefighting department said that the rain on Monday had raised the water level in the dyke-protected areato 20cm, almost entirely extinguishing the fire on the surface of the forest. It had also lowered the temperature in the area, and provided enough moisture for the last 1,000ha of primary forest and about 4,000ha of newly planted cajeput trees to prevent the still smouldering fire from spreading further. But, fire continues to burn in the peat layer under the surface of the forest and could setit ablaze again, Son cautioned. He said the fire-fighters would dig holes in the affected area and pump down water to tryand put out the fire inside the peat layer. Despite the improved situation, all personnel and equipment will remain on the site, Sonsaid. Source: VNS
Forestfires and land-use fires in Viet Nam, including the fire disaster zone in U MinhThuong National Park, acquired by the Moderate-resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 18 April 2002.