The government is on bush fire alert as temperatures rise and the country’s forests become drier.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which is in charge of forest fire management, announced recently that the parties involved must take steps to prevent forest fires in the dry season.
Forest fires occur regularly in Laos, particularly at this time of the year when timber is dry and many farmers are slash and burning their land in preparation for planting wet season crops.
According to a notice on the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry website, the ministry wants to introduce measures requiring provincial authorities to promote fire prevention strategies amongst local populations, especially those that live near forests.
There must be an end to the burning of scrub and trees for stockbreeding purposes, the notice said.
In the event of a fire, it is up to village and district officials to mobilise communities to firstly stay safe and then extinguish the fire if possible.
If a fire gets out of control provincial authorities must be informed immediately so that fire fighters can be sent for.
The Agriculture and Forestry Department advises all the provinces and Vientiane to advertise the policies and laws around fire management and prevention. Newspapers, television and radio should be used to keep the public informed.
Workshops and information seminars should also be held to spread the word about the importance of fire safety, prevention and restoring forests damaged by fire.
Provinces should cooperate with businesses to improve the supply of saplings for forest restoration. Indigenous saplings should be used to replant damaged forests as much as possible.
It is the responsibility of provincial authorities to implement fire prevention strategies and sapling management protocols. All forest rehabilitation activities must be reported to the ministry.
Every province needs to select and prepare a site for new sapling growth.
Activities that relate to forestry and the environment must also be devised for International Children’s Day and National Arbour Day.