Melaleuca forests face fire risk

Melaleuca forests face fire risk

26 February 2013

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Vietnam — Many of the forests have begun to wilt because the water in the canals surrounding the trees has evaporated.

The province was watching for new fires and had task forces standing by, said provincial Forest Protection Department director Le Van Hai.

Ca Mau has 41,000ha of melaleuca forests, 30,000ha of which are in U Minh District. All of the melaleuca forests belonging to the U Minh Ha National Park, which is part of a UNESCO-recognised Ca Mau Biosphere Reverse, are at risk.

“We are ready in terms of human resources and logistics for fire control and prevention this dry season,” Hai said.

Forest rangers and firefighters had participated in joint training drills on how to quickly extinguish forest fires, he said.

The U Minh Ha National Park has set up 45 firewatcher posts, installed high-power pumps and engaged the participation of some 2,800 residents.

Since the beginning of the dry season this year, there have been seven fires in U Minh District alone, destroying 2.64ha of forests. These fires had been attributed to local beekeepers who used smoke to control bees when approaching them.

The province has closed all forests and erected 300 signs, while local authorities have persuaded 5,000 households to sign agreements that they will not enter melaleuca forests to extract honey or poach wildlife.

Similar efforts have been under way in southern Binh Phuoc and Kien Giang provinces where the dry season is at its peak, with temperatures hovering around 35 Celsius degrees.


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