Forest fires destroy 60ha in central region

Forest fires destroy 60ha in central region

11 July 2011

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Viet Nam — About sixty ha of forest were destroyed by forest fires that broke out in Quang Ngai, Thua Thien-Hue provinces and Da Nang City last Thursday and Friday.

At least 20ha of planted forests were destroyed by a fire that broke out last Thursday night in Quang Ngai. Around the same area of forest was destroyed in a fire the following day in central Da Nang City.

The northern and central regions have been beset by sweltering weather conditions for several weeks now, with temperatures remaining high at 35-37 degrees Celsius and topping 38 degrees in some localities.

These conditions have increased the risk of forest fires being set off. The scorching heat has triggered off several forest fires over the past few weeks in Quang Ngai and Da Nang.

The latest forest fire in Quang Ngai was caused when 26-year-old Le Thanh Hai lit a fire to clear his go keo forest area in Duc Pho District’s Pho Phong Ward after harvesting it, the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper reported.

The dry weather, combined with strong winds, caused it to spread rapidly to nearby plantations.

The fire was put under control by early Friday morning but flared up again few hours later.

Since the fire covered an area of two square kilometres on a mountaintop, 4km from Highway 24, it was not possible for fire fighting equipment to approach it, said Nguyen Van Han, head of the provincial Forestry Department.

Hundreds of civil servants and rangers from the department, the police and the district’s military force were fighting the fire manually. It was time consuming and not very effective work, Han said.

One of the fires in Da Nang last week originated in the neighbouring province of Thua Thien-Hue, according to the Tuoi Tre (Young People) newspaper.

The fire, which also burnt at least 20ha of forest, broke out on the Hai Van Pass in Thua Thien-Hue and spread to Da Nang City on Thursday. The fire, caused by high temperatures and strong winds, broke out midday in a plantation maintained by Phu Loc District and rapidly reach the nearby northern Hai Van protective forest.

Later in the afternoon on Thursday, the fire was put under control in Thua Thien-Hue but the blaze in Da Nang continued until 5pm when the first fire truck was able to approach it. The fire was brought under control on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, around 700 civil servants, rangers and local residents stood guard around the southern Hai Van protective forest in Lien Chieu District to make sure any flare up that spread could be quickly contained, said Tran Van Luong, head of Da Nang Forest Management Department.

Another fire broke out in Da Nang at around noon on Friday, burning more than 20ha of forest in Hoa Vang District. With the joint efforts of more than 300 civil servants, rangers, soldiers and residents who had to fight the fire at the Hai Van forest the night before, the fire was put out several hours later.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the city authorities.

At least four forest fires have occurred last week in Da Nang, according to the Voice of Viet Nam, increasing the total to eight so far this month.

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