Fires rip through pine forests in central Vietnam

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Nearly a hundred hectares of pine forest in the central province of Ha Tinh were burned down by a series of five sweeping fires over the past three days.

 

The latest blaze was contained early Wednesday after it destroyed 20 hectares. Nearby residents blamed local authorities for responding to the emergency too late.

 

Residents in Huong Son District noticed the fire on Tuesday morning and it only got stronger, spreading to Vu Quang District despite fighting efforts by more than 400 residents, police and forest rangers.

 

The fire got even more powerful after 9 p.m. Tuesday, fueled by hot winds from Laos.

 

Local residents said the fire lasted so long because fire fighters came too late. Residents said they had nothing but axes and the branches they cut down themselves to weaken the fire as they waited.

 

"The fire occurred and forces only came an hour later, when it had already spread," said one local resident who requested anonymity.

 

The Ha Tinh Forest Ranger Department said that at least five fires had swept the province since Monday.

 

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