The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has requested local authorities in Central Highlands and the South-eastern regions to enhance measures to prevent forest fires.

In an official document sent to several provinces, including Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, and Dak Nong, as well as Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Dong Nai, the ministry warned that these localities are at high risk of forest fires due to the long dry spell they have endured. Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau also received the notice. Most of these forest areas are rated Levels IV and V, which are very high and extreme classes for fire hazards.

The provinces most at risk are Dak Lak, Binh Thuan, Binh Phuoc and Lam Dong.

The localities have been requested to increase patrols around the forest, prepare all necessary equipment and improve training in fire-fighting techniques.

Rangers will check on people's use of fire near and inside the forest, especially in light of the slash and burn tradition of local residents.

In related news, the People's Committee of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on January 19 approved the disbursement of 13.9 billion VND (662,000 USD) from the provincial budget to cope with the risk of forest fires during this dry season.

The money will be used to build and repair fire-extinguishing equipment, collect hydrometeorological data and pay for rangers' wages.-VNA