Vice chief of the Forestry Agency Ha Cong Tuan had a field trip to the national park in the afternoon of March 5. The official says that the fire has burned down around 100 hectares of forest, which were planted after the fire in 1998. However, the fire has not spread to the natural forest.
Tuan says that it took firemen up to 4 hours to approach the site, which is at the height of 1,600-1,900 meters. Firemen could not use pumps and specialized equipment. The army telecom corporation Viettel has installed a telecom station to serve the fire-fighting force.
According to the newspaper of Lao Cai province, the fire was severe at the height of 1,900 meters because there were many ferns in this area. Firemen had to use manual methods to put out fire.
Owing to strong wind, dry weather, rough terrain and the existence of ferns in some areas, the fire could not be put out in some areas. The fire-fighting force had to chop down some pieces of planted forest to create a fire shield.
Thao A Seng, chief of the Forest Protection Division of Sapa District, says that the fire shield is more than three kilometer long. On the afternoon of March 5, nearly 1,500 people participated in extinguishing the fire. More people will be mobilized today, March 6.
In February 2010, another big fire occurred in this national park, which burnt down thousands of hectares of forest area, and took over ten days to quell.
The Hoang Lien National Park is located in six communes of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces in northern Vietnam. The park covers around 30,000 hectares. It was recognized as the ASEAN Heritage Garden in 2003.
According to the Forestry Agency, forest in 11 provinces in the northwestern and Central Highlands regions were at the fifth alarming level of fire on March 5. Small firers were reported at nearly 200 sites in Son La, over 120 in Dien Bien and over 70 in Lai Chau provinces, in northern Vietnam.