Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - El Nino fire warning issued

El Nino fire warning issued

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Ministry of Environment ranger surveys the charred remains of the flooded forest that once surrounded Prek Toal village in Battambang province. The Ministry of Environment issues a statement on preventing forest fires in natural protected areas and biodiversity conservation corridors on Monday. Hong Menea

El Nino fire warning issued

The Ministry of Environment issued a statement on Monday on preventing forest fires in natural protected areas and biodiversity conservation corridors.

The statement, which cited a government directive on water preservation from last Thursday, said Cambodian weather is set to be heavily influenced by the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, a weather event involving a cycle of warm and cold temperatures impacting the tropics and subtropics.

During El Nino, temperatures can rise to highs of 42 degrees Celsius, with very little rain. This will result in the government issuing a cautionary statement on Thursday which raised concerns about the possibility of a drought in the Kingdom in April and May.

The ministry’s statement said as a result of the extreme heat and dryness, there will be an increased risk of forest fires from natural causes and human activity.

It said forest fires frequently occurred in natural protected areas and biodiversity conservation corridors every year.

Through the statement, the ministry hoped to educate all organisations, ministries and sub-national authorities about the heightened dangers of forest fires during the El Nino period.

Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Monday that the ministry was ramping up efforts to prevent forest fires this year.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Flooded forests burning at the Prek Toal bird sanctuary in Battambang Province in 2016. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

“We need to be careful because this year’s extra high temperatures, along with the especially dry climate, will make it easier to cause wildfires by accident when people burn waste in natural protected areas,” he said.

The main cause of forest fires in the dry season is illegal forest land clearing to grow agricultural crops, as well as people starting forest fires to catch wildlife.

The statement issued six guiding directives to prevent wildfires for sub-national authorities and local communities to follow, including cautiousness when using fire to harvest crops and catch animals.

The ministry’s statement also prohibited any acts that violate Article 62 of the Law on Natural Protected Areas, including forest clearing, burning and destruction.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Using tech innovation to tackle Cambodia’s rampant road deaths

    Cutting corners, rampant phone use, speeding and driving through red lights – these are just some of the reasons why driving in Phnom Penh can often feel like a city-wide game of dodgems. The high death toll on the nation’s roads – combined with several high-profile