A grass fire raged through a chicken farm in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday, destroying two coops and the chickens within and causing $10,000 in damage, according to provincial authorities.
Forest and brush fires have ravaged Cambodia especially hard this dry season, the Ministry of Agriculture said in February. Dr Kao Dana, head of the ministry’s forestry management office, attributed most of these fires to human activities such as slash-and-burn farming.
Wednesday’s Preah Sihanouk blaze spread across the tall dry grass of Kompong Seila district before igniting the chicken farm belonging to proprietor Leang Song Hour, according to district military police official Som Samean.
“Until now, we do not know what caused the fire, but it came from the grass nearby and spread to his farm. The water truck came immediately but we could not save [the farms],” said Samean. “Two chicken coops were completely destroyed and many chickens died.”
No people were harmed in the blaze, which was contained after about two hours.
Sem Van, one of the villagers in the area, said that the flames initially spread from a small patch of forest nearby and villagers’ efforts to fight it were futile. He said he was sorry for the farmer’s loss but grateful that the fires did not affect any other villagers’ properties.
Chhith Sam Ath, country director at WWF Cambodia, said that blazes are most prevalent during the hot, dry months of March and April, mostly in the Kingdom’s heavily forested east.