A fire stemming from prolonged intense heat engulfed 12 hectares of the U Minh Ha forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau at 12 am on May 14.

The nine-year-old cajuput forest is located in Khanh Binh Tay commune, Tran Van Thoi district.

This is the first fire in the province in the 2015 dry season.

The case is under further investigation.

According to the the Forest Management Department, 19,000 of nearly 38,500 hectares of cajuput forest are facing extremely high fire risks as prolonged dry weather diminishes the supply of water available for fire fighters to extinguish blazes.

To cope with the situation, the provincial People’s Committee has requested the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development cooperate with authorised bodies and local governments to encourage local households to protect forests and prevent fire during the drought.

Ca Mau has also implemented a number of precautionary programmes, including around-the-clock patrols, fire drills and logistic planning.

The local U Minh Ha cajuput forest covers 75,000 hectares, including a valuable 8,000-hectare primeval forest within the Vo Doi national forest.-VNA