The southernmost province of Ca Mau will temporarily close the U Minh Ha cajuput forest from February 4 till the end of April as the dry season poses a high risk of catching fires for the area.

According to Nguyen Van Hai, head of the provincial Sub-department of Forest Protection, water level in the area has been going down rapidly due to dry weather, which hit the forest for over a month.

Fire prevention measures are being intensified while activities of forest exploitation and unauthorised access will be banned during the period, said Hai.

Hai, however, revealed that domestic and foreigners visitors can still visit the forest site with local forest rangers’ guidance.

The U Minh Ha cajuput forest spreads over more than 80,000ha in Tran Van Thoi, U Minh, and Thoi Binh districts. It is home to the Vo Doi national forest, which covers an area of 8,000 ha.

The populations of birds and wild animals have surged in recent times in the forest in Ca Mau, according to the province Sub-department of Forest Protection.

There are storks, egrets, cormorants, night herons, and many other species.

To protect the birds, the sub-department has carried out several measures, including preventing people from coming into close contact with them and providing them with food and water.

Several rare animals, including wild boars, weasels, pythons, and crocodiles, have also been spotted in increasing numbers.

Local forest rangers said, based on their tracks, wild boars probably numbered in the hundreds now after not being seen in the forest for many years.

Herds of animals had been seen looking for food along the sides of roads, they said.

Ca Mau has banned the hunting, transportation, and sale of rare wild animals since 2000.-VNA