Hot spell keeps forest fires burning for fortnight in northern Vietnam

Thanh Nien News

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A series of forest fires have been burning in the north-central province of Nghe An since late May.
Authorities have identified 14 fires, including one that destroyed more than 100 hectares (247 acres) of jungle, in the past 15 days.
At least one person died of exhaustion as he scrambled to extinguish the flames; three others were injured during their efforts, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.
While the monsoon season has already begun in the south, the north central province has received no major rain and is suffering from near-drought conditions.
Temperatures in the province were recorded at up to 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit), creating an extreme risk of forest fire.
A fire that started on Tuesday remained burning through Wednesday, consuming an area of pine trees and threatening the homes of 15 families at the foot of a mountain in Nam Dan District.
The flames rose 7 meters high, at times, fueled by hot winds coming out of Laos and an abundance of dry, flammable forest.
Hoang Van Huynh, deputy head of the district forest management department, told Tien Phong on Wednesday that the fire has been controlled but not put out.
However, Huynh warned that the chance of the flames rising back up remains high.
Another fire destroyed more than 90 hectares of forest in the district on Sunday, including 55 hectares of pine trees as well as 35 hectares of acacia and eucalyptus.
Nguyen Xuan Duong, chairman of the province, said the forest fires are the most intense that have ever occurred in Nghe An.
Duong said that all of the firefighting forces in the area have been deployed along with teams of civilian volunteers.
Weather forecasts said the hot, dry weather will persist until at least the end of the week.
Nghe An is home to more than 30,000 hectares of highly flammable pine forest.

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