Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blaze ravages protected Pailin forest

Blaze ravages protected Pailin forest

Blaze ravages protected Pailin forest

MORE than 1,000 hectares of protected forest land in Pailin, Kampot and Siem Reap provinces have been destroyed by forest fires in the last 30 days, and all three fires are suspected to have been caused by human activity, officials said Sunday.

None of the fires led to any reported casualties.

The biggest of the three fires, in Pailin, raged for three full weeks – from February 16 to March 8, said Sous Siyat, the governor of Pailin town. He said the blaze ripped through 966 hectares of protected forest land at the base of Keav mountain, adding that the area’s remote location and numerous land mines made combating the flames impossible at first.

“We couldn’t put the fire out when it started, because reaching the area would have taken such a long time,” Sous Siyat said.

Kong Doung, director of the provincial Information Department, said 12 houses were destroyed.

He said officials believed the fire had been caused by villagers burning trees to claim land, a practice he said he was trying to discourage.

“I’ve spoken with local authorities and addressed citizens over the radio, asking them to stop burning trees down to claim habitable land,” Kong
Doung said. “We fear more fires will occur if this doesn’t stop, especially now, while we’re in the dry season.”

The illegal burning of trees to expand plots of land is also believed to have caused a fire that destroyed 50 hectares of protected forest in Siem Reap’s Angkor National Park, said officials at the Apsara Authority, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak with the media.

Bokor National Park in Kampot was the site of a March 3 fire that began after residents left burning refuse unattended.

The fire destroyed 4 hectares of protected forest land that was home to hundreds of banana trees before park staff and employees at a nearby hotel successfully extinguished it, said Yang Phyrum, the park’s director.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release