Forest fires ravage Vietnam’s Ha Tinh

Asia News Network | 02 July 2019

Forest fires broke out in several locations in the central province of Ha Tinh on Sunday, according to local authorities.

Pham Tien Hung, deputy chairman of the Nghi Xuan district People’s Committee, said by 10:30am on Sunday, a forest fire in Xuan Hong commune was controlled, though officials were continuing to patrol the scene in case the fire reoccurs.


Efforts made to prevent and fight forest fires

Efforts made to prevent and fight forest fires

Thursday, 2018-07-05 11:13:12

NDO – Most of the forest areas in the Northern and Central regions are at high risk of fire, often at level 5 (extremely dangerous). Forest fires have broken out in some localities, posing an urgent need for the active prevention of forest fires.

In the central province of Nghe An, forest fires broke out in Dien Chau, Yen Thanh, Nam Dan and Quynh Luu districts in the early days of July. According to the provincial Department of Forest Protection, in the coming days, the Foehn wind, caused by the impact of the southeastern edge of the western hot low-pressure area, will continue causing hot weather across the region with temperatures always over 40 degrees Celsius.

Most recently, at about 14.30 on July 3, in Quynh My commune, Quynh Luu district, Nghe An province, a fire broke out in the forest and quickly destroyed 1 hectare of four-year-old acacia forest. Functional forces and around 300 local people were mobilised to control the fire.

In Ha Tinh province, hot and severe weather makes the danger of forest fire a permanent threat. Within 10 days from June 21 to July 1, six forest fires occurred over a total area of over 37 hectares in the province. About 10 hectares of forest was damaged.

The northern mountainous province of Son La is also focusing on many measures and plans to actively prevent and fight forest fires. According to Director of the Forest Protection Department Luong Ngoc Hoan, the province is managing more than 600 hectares of forestry, of which the majority are specialised, mixed, and regenerating forests with a high risk of fire (levels 4 and 5). From the beginning of the year, the province has organised 2,789 grassroots forest ranger teams while more than 88,000 households in the province have signed a commitment to forest protection.

The Vietnam Forestry Administration has sent an urgent message on forest fire prevention and fighting to provinces and cities such as Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Quang Binh, Thua Thien – Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Khanh Hoa.

Accordingly, authorities at grassroots levels must promote communication works on fire prevention and fighting among their residents while forces should be ready around the clock in case forest fires occur.

Roles must be assigned among members of all-level steering boards of the national target programme on sustainable forestry development to enhance inspections. Meanwhile, military and police forces were ordered to stand ready to offer assistance in case of fires.

Forest ranger teams should work with people’s committees to direct and examine efforts to prevent forest fires while forest owners are responsible for upgrading their firefighting facilities.

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Benedictine monks see red over Vietnam forest fires

Benedictine monks see red over Vietnam forest fires

Brothers claim blazes were started deliberately and ask authorities and individuals to respect their dignity reporter, Hue City
Vietnam, May 29, 2018

Benedictine monks in a central Vietnam province have criticized authorities for ignoring forest fires that they claim were started deliberately.

Brother Stanislas Tran Minh Vong said two fires were found in pine forest around the Benedictine Monastery of Thien An just outside the ancient city of Hue in Thua Thien Hue province on the afternoons of May 22 and 23.

Brother Vong, 81, said 50 monks used water pipes, hoes, shovels, knives and other tools to extinguish the first fire, which broke out about 300 meters from the monastery.

“A group of gangsters shouted at us and tried to prevent us from extinguishing the fire, which was approaching the monastery,” he said. They also told the monks that the forest does not belong to the monastery.

Two security officers from Thuy Bang commune saw the incident but did nothing to stop the flames. “They tried to take away cameras from some monks who were videoing the fire to find its cause,” said Brother Vong.

Brother Vong said the second fire was put out by Benedictines and some soldiers.

Father Louis Gonzaga Dang Hung Tan, head of the monastery, said four fires have started in the area this year. They destroyed five hectares of pine forest planted by the monks decades ago.

“After examining the scene, we confirm that these fires were caused by people. All fires aimed to cause disorder to the monks’ life and religious activities,” Father Tan said.

The priest said some groups of strangers have broken into the monastery and watched the monks’ work for recent months. However, they have never been present at fires and protected the monastery’s properties, he added.

He also accused some individuals and organizations of destroying and confiscating the monks’ land and properties.

The monks have had legal ownership of the monastery and its 107 hectares of pine forest and farmland since 1940.

Since 1975, local authorities have “borrowed” or confiscated land and assigned it to state-run forestry and tourism companies. The monks were allowed to retain only six hectares of land including the monastery.

The monks say they have never transferred the ownership of properties or land to any individual or organization.

“We ask relevant individuals and organizations to respect our dignity and basic human rights by laws,” Father Tan said.

He demanded they stop starting forest fires and preserve the pine forest and the monks’ spiritual values, which help create a clean environment.

The area is now in the dry season lasting from May to September. Five rainwater containers at the monastery are running out and pools used to water orange farms have dried up. Monks have to carry water 10 kilometers to use for their daily activities.

“It is unfair that we are not allowed to use our 49-hectare lake near the monastery,” said Father Tan, referring to a lake confiscated by the government.

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