UXO-triggered wildfire destroys 11 ha of forest in Vietnam

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A wildfire set off by the explosion of a wartime ordnance burned down some 11 hectares of forests in the central city of Da Nang, local authorities said Sunday.

It took more than 300 people 16 hours to put out the blaze on Ho Chua Mountain in Lien Chieu District.

Dang Ngoc Nhan, chairman of the Hoa Khanh Bac Ward People's Committee, said at around 3 p.m. Saturday people heard explosions on the mountain and soon a fire broke out and quickly spread across the forest.

Fire trucks arrived at the scene, but due to the rough terrain could not reach the fire, Nhan said, adding that they also lacked equipment.

It was extinguished around midnight Saturday, but started again three hours later and spread due to strong winds, the official said.

Not until 7 o'clock the next morning could they finally douse it, he said.

Pham Van Rong, deputy chief of the Lien Chieu Forest Rangers, said around 11 ha of forest were destroyed, 40 percent of it earleaf acacia and eucalyptus trees awaiting harvest.

He said the unexploded ordnance set off by the long hot weather is the suspected cause.

Local agencies are investigating.

Da Nang has reported nine forest fires since the beginning of this year, four of them in Lien Chieu.

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