Illustrative photo (Source:VNA)
Kien Giang (VNA) – Over 37,000 hectares of forests in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang’s Phu Quoc island were put on level-five “extremely dangerous” alert for forest fires, stemming from prolonged drought, acute heatwave and a dwindling supply of water.

Together with the severe climate, local people’s habit to clear land for slash-and-burn cultivation is another major cause of fires, said Huynh Long Hai, head of the district forest rangers unit.

By the end of March, dozens of fires had destroyed nearly 100 hectares of forests and meadow. The most serious fire was recorded in Bai Thom village, Bai Thom commune, damaging over 56 hectares of cajuput forests.

The district will give a push to the popularisation of forest fire protection among local people and enhance patrol forces to tightly control forest lands which are particularly vulnerable to fires.

The province will prepare sufficient equipment and vehicles for fire prevention while dredging, upgrading and building 84 new wells, assuring adequate water for fighting fires in the locality.

Meanwhile, U Minh Ha cajuput forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau is also in danger of fire.

A total of 45,000 hectares have completely dried up, 35,000 hectares of which have been put at ‘extremely dangerous’ alert level for forest fires and 10,000 at ‘dangerous’ alert level.

According to Huynh Minh Nguyen, Director of the U Minh Ha National Park, never before has the forest been as withered as today.

The forest rangers are working with local people to carry out forest protection measures, Nguyen said, adding that more than 500 people take turns guarding against fires every day.-VNA