Forty five years ago today, November 28, Uncle Ho launched the New Year (Tet) tree planting movement. Since then, it has become a valuable and widespread tradition in Vietnam. Ten years ago, the Prime Minister decided to select November 28 every year as Vietnams Forestry Day with the aim of raising peoples awareness about forest and environmental protection.
The day is of great significance which requires practical actions to meet the changing situation. This year, droughts have spread extensively in many areas, increasing the risk of forest fire across the country. Every one understands that forest fires often leave serious and prolonged consequences such as destroying natural resources and the environment and threatening peoples lives. In addition, forest fires claim a lot of expenses and cause pain for the country. In order to prevent forest fires, agencies, sectors and organisations need to promote tree planting and forest fire prevention.
Forest fires can be prevented or controlled when forest owners carry out necessary measures. This also requires local authorities and forest rangers to have regular checks so as to provide due assistance and not to approve any forest land allocation project without fire prevention measures.
Regular information dissemination and education on forest protection and fire prevention should be widely implemented, especially for people in remote, mountainous and ethnic minority areas and those living in high risk areas. Forest owners should co-ordinate with local authorities to organise training courses on preventing and extinguishing forest fires. Facts show that the building of lakes and anti-fire lanes is very important in controlling fire. This measure is needed for both planted forests and lands to be zoned for forest planting. It is necessary to boost the forest-based economy and promote the management of important forests or forests in remote areas.
Currently, Vietnam does not have modern forest fire control technology, thus the use of manual measures and mobilisation of local people to join the fight against forest fires are decisive factors. Agencies, sectors and forest owners should increase investment for improving anti-fire facilities so as to serve sustainable development of forest resources. Bad consequences might happen if greater attention is given to forest planting rather than fire prevention and control. Forest planters should be encouraged to play a role in forest protection and fire prevention and more incentives should be issued in favour of forest rangers to help them devote fully to this important work.
Forest fire prevention is now an urgent task. Practical activities are needed in response to this years Forestry Day, thus contributing to protecting our living environment now and for the future generations.