Fire burns 3,000 hectares of forest, flames still strong

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A wildfire in the northern Vietnamese province of Lao Cai had destroyed an estimated 3,000 hectares of forest as of Thursday and was threatening to damage a nearby national park.

The fire started in Seo Chong Ho and Mai Quai Ho villages in Sa Pa District’s Ban Ho Commune at around 1 p.m. on Monday, Ma Quang Trung, representative of Sa Pa People’s Committee, told local newswire Dan Tri.

Due to dry weather and strong winds, the fire very soon spread to other villages, despite the firefighting efforts of thousands of local people, police, soldiers and forest rangers, according to local authorities.

Bui Quang Vinh, secretary of Lao Cai’s Party Committee, said they couldn’t use helicopters to extinguish the fire due to the blaze’s size and a water shortage.

He said it may take one or two days for firefighters to actually approach the flames, noting that 6,000-7,000 people were involved in efforts to isolate the blaze by clearing forest.

Phan Duy Hanh, director of Lao Cai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, estimated that between 2,500-3,000 hectares of forest had caught fire, and the fire had reached the border of Hoang Lien National Park.

No casualties were reported so far, according to local authorities.

Lao Cai province’s authorities said they had reported the incident to the Prime Minister, asking for support in the form of human resources and modern equipment.

Hoang Lien National Park, which was recognized as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2006, is home to many rare and red-listed animal and plant species.

Source: Tuoi Tre

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