fire along the mountainous border of Son La and Yen Bai Provinces strengthened
last Tuesday night as it spread towards Ta Xua reserve, said Nguyen Van Luan,
head of Son La Forest Management Department.
As of 5p.m.
Wednesday last week, the blaze was creeping dangerously close to the protected
forest, only weeks after a week-long fire in the nearby Lao Cai Province
destroyed some 1,700 hectares of forest in Hoang Lien National Park.
not optimistic as he said it has been hot, dry and windy in the area.
three kilometers of mountain separated the flames from the nearest, but the
rugged terrain meant that it would take firefighters 8-10 hours to reach the
core of the blaze, Luan said.
winds could also push the fire into natural forests in Yen Bai's Tram Tau and
Van Chan districts, experts have warned.
volunteers from Son La's Phu Yen District and another 200 from Tram Tau District
have been sent to stop the fire.
has destroyed around 50 hectares of forest, according to estimates by Luan's
Investigators said that two workers at a hydropower plant construction site in
Tram Tau might have accidently caused the fire, but details on what they were
suspected of having done were not yet available.
A total of
13 forest fires have occurred around Yen Bai since mid-February, said Nguyen
Quang Vinh, head of the Yen Bai Forest Management Department.
Tho Province also reported several forest fires last week.
Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands said more than 600,000 hectares of
forests in the province were at risk of catching fire amid a prolonged dry
season arrived a couple of weeks earlier this year and there was little rain for
a period before that. Forest management authorities in many provinces in the
Mekong Delta have also raised forest fire alert levels.