HCM CITY — Local authorities in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region have taken measures to prevent forest fires in the ongoing dry season.
Forests in the region, which includes the provinces Lâm Đồng, Đắk Lắk, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Đắk Nông, face a high fire risk because of hot weather.
At the beginning of the dry season, the provinces instructed localities to establish fire-prevention plans and strictly implement them in the dry season.
In Đắk Nông Province, the Forest Protection Sub-department in September instructed localities and forest owners to set up prevention plans. The sub-department has organised forest fire prevention drills and more inspections.
Đắk Nông has 125,000ha of forests, including 78,300ha of natural forest and 46,700ha of manmade forests in danger of high fire risk, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In the dry season, which lasts between November and April, local farmers clear their fields by burning, which can cause fires to break out in forests near the fields.
Lê Quang Dần, deputy director of the department, said the province's forests have a thick layer of vegetation covering the ground and many forests are pine and bamboo forests, which easily catch fire in the dry season.
At the beginning of the dry season, localities and forest owners cleared dry vegetation and set up fire breaks in forests.
In Gia Lai Province, localities set up forest protection stations in fire-prone forests to monitor fires and protect forests around the clock before and after Tết (Lunar New Year).
In Gia Lai's Krông Pa District, the district's Forest Protection Bureau, forest owners and the district's communes have monitored forests around the clock to prevent fires and other activities that violate regulations.
Nguyễn Văn Hoan, deputy director of the Gia Lai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has provided information on legal forest protection regulations to residents.
Gia Lai, which has the largest forested area in the Tây Nguyên region, has 514,000ha of forests, according to the province's Forest Protection Sub-department.
In Kon Tum Province, the province's People's Committee ordered the head of relevant departments, agencies and district level People's Committees, and forest owners to take fire-prevention measures at the beginning of this year.
Under the order, the head of relevant departments, agencies and district level People's Committees will bear main responsibility for forest violations and forest fires.
Kon Tum localities have prepared human forces and facilities, made fire breaks in forests, and established plans for preventing and controlling forest fires in each area.
The Tây Nguyên region has more than 2.5 million hectares of forested land, accounting for 17.5 per cent of the country's total forest area, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The region has a forest coverage rate of 45.9 per cent. — VNS
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