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Dong Thap: three forests face highest fire risk

Three forests in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap are facing the highest level of fire risk, the fifth, according to its Forest Protection Sub-department.

They include the protective forest in Tan Hong district, Dong Cat Station and the forest and grassland at the Go Thap Heritage Site in Thap Muoi district.

Nguyen Tan Thanh, head of the sub-department, said the places could catch fire on a large scale and the blaze could spread rapidly.

They mostly have cajuput and eucalyptus trees and are close to farming areas, he said.

During the ongoing dry season forest managers have taken various prevention measures, including preparing firefighting facilities and equipment in high-risk areas.

Inflammable materials have been cleared from nearby forests and fire breaks have been created.

They have dredged water bodies inside forests to ensure boats with equipment could sail to prevent and control fires, pumped water into forests to reduce the dryness and stored water for firefighting.

In the protective forest in Tan Hong district, which the district’s Defence – Economic Unit 959 manages, it has dredged canals and ponds to store more water.

At the Tram Chim National Park in Tam Nong district, the management has installed cameras at key sites to monitor fires.

The 7,313ha park has mostly cajuput trees and is a Ramsar wetlands site of international importance.

In the Xeo Quyt cajuput forest in Cao Lanh district, the management board has installed pumps and regularly sprays water to reduce dryness in places visited by tourists.

Thanh said during high tides forest managers should pump water into forests to increase the humidity and store water for possible firefighting.

They should step up patrols and monitor the forests around the clock to promptly discover and control fires, he said.

Dong Thap has more than 12,000ha of mostly cajuput and eucalyptus forests.

The sub-department has trained 1,746 people in the province in combating forest fires, and issued hundreds of booklets on it this year.

It has undertaken advocacy activities on radio and TV, and bought equipment for preventing and fighting forest fires, including a fire truck and hoses./.