Vietnam — A bush fire engulfed swathes of U Minh Ha Forest in Thoi Binh District, on Sunday.
Firefighters are still fighting the blaze, which they blamed on dry weather conditions.
“Despite a great effort by the forest management team, the fire is still burning. About 20ha of forest has been totally destroyed, while another 80ha has been damaged,” said Nguyen Kien Cuong, director of Ca Mau’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
A fire also broke out on Saturday but fire fighters were able to put it out, officials said.
“The dry conditions and strong winds make it difficult to extinguish the blaze. We need all the help we can get from the provincial authority,” Cuong said.
The local authority has mobilised about 1,000 people including police officers, soldiers, forestry workers and local residents to put out the fire.
Cuong said 10 water pumps and a fire engine are being used to extinguish the fire, Cuong added.
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and central provinces of An Giang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau and Ninh Thuan have been on fire alert since the dry season started in December, and residents have been banned from lighting fires.
Meanwhile, the central provinces of Kon Tum, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai are on fire alert level IV, one number below the delta provinces.
Officials said 130 dams have been built to boost water levels and reduce the risk of fire in the southern provinces.
Since last December, 10 fires have broken out in U Minh Ha, but damage was limited.
Meanwhile, a major blaze broke out in Tram Chim National Park in Tam Nong district on April 25 and lasted for five days.