Forest fire risk rises in north

Forest fire risk rises in north

24 March 2010

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Vietnam —   Prolonged dry weather has threatened forests and crops in several northern provinces.

More than 200 hectares of forest in Ha Giang Province have been destroyed since late February, and large forest fires have broken out in the mountainous provinces of Cao Bang, Lang Son and Yen Bai.

Slash-and-burn farming has also been blamed for the fires.

The four mountainous districts of Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Minh and Quan Ba in Lao Cai Province are facing forest fire risks up to Level 5, the highest level.

In the first two months of this year, 3,721 localities from around the nation suffered from forest fires, said Ha Cong Tuan, director of the Forest Management Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The drought had destroyed the cultivation area for hundreds of tonnes of livestock feed in Lao Cai Province, said Nguyen Quyet Tien, secretary of Vo Lao Commune’s Party Committee.

In addition, there is currently insufficient irrigation water for nearly 754 hectares of rice paddies, according to the provincial Irrigation Department.

To help farmers deal with the problems, the communal authority has recommended that the district authority should provide capital for farmers to buy water pumps.

Some farmers have planted soya instead of rice over 63 hectares in Si Ma Cai District to cope with the drought.

According to the Lao Cai Hydro-meteorology Forecast Centre, rainfall has been lower than usual, with only 85-125mm falling since last November. The situation was predicted to last until April.

Water levels in streams and rivers are 15-20cm lower than in recent years.

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