Mr. Ha Cong Tuan, the General Department of Forestry’s deputy chief, told correspondents on March 14 that Vietnam’s forest firefighting equipment is outdated. Vietnam does not have a specialized force to fight forest fires. As a result, forest rangers have to work as firemen.
He said that in the next decades, Vietnam will still fight forest fires by manual methods.
The official also said, because of characters of terrain, both manual and modern methods are effective to forest fires in southern Vietnam. But in the northern region, manual methods are suitable since helicopters cannot skim to fight fire because of strong wind.
Mr. Tuan added that investment in firefighting helicopters is huge. “To balance between investment and effectiveness, by 2020 Vietnam will be unable to purchase modern forest firefighting equipment so manual methods will still be used,” he said.
In the latest forest fire at the Hoang Lien National Park in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, nearly 100 hectares of forest were burnt down. The fire occurred at the height of nearly 2,000 meters. It took thousands of people four days to put down the fire.
In related news, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued an order asking ministries, industries and localities to take drastic measures to prevent forest fires. Local authorities will have to take responsibility if a heavy forest fire occurs.
Early this month, 12 localities were warned of serious forest fire risks due to prolonged dry weather nationwide. The highest-level alert was announced in eight provinces, including Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Gia Lai, Ha Nam, Nghe An and Ninh Binh.
It is estimated that around 200 forest fires occurred nationwide last year, destroying over 2,000ha of forest.