Over 37,000 hectares of forests in Phu Quoc island, Kien Giang province, have been put on level-five “extremely dangerous” alert for forest fires, according to the district forest rangers unit.
The problem is attributed to prolonged drought and a dwindling supply of water caused by El Nino. Additionally, local habit of slash-and-burn, an agricultural technique that involves cutting and burning forests to create fields, is another factor to exacerbate the problem, 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 grassland in the southern province of Kien Giang. The most serious fire destroyed over 56 hectares of cajuput forest.
U Minh Ha cajuput forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau is also facing the same issue.
A total of 45,000 hectares of forests have completely dried up, of which 35,000 hectares have been put on the “extremely dangerous” alert for forest fires and 10,000 hectares on “dangerous” alert level.
Huynh Minh Nguyen, Director of the U Minh Ha National Park said never before has the forest been as withered as today.
The forest rangers are working with local people to carry out forest protection measures. More than 500 people are taking turns guarding against fires in U Minh Ha National Park, while Kien Giang province has intensified water reserves for fighting fires by dredging, upgrading and building 84 new wells.
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