Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry warns of forest fire dangers in dry season

Ministry warns of forest fire dangers in dry season

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Wildfire in Banteay Meanchey province in March of last year. AGRO MINISTRY

Ministry warns of forest fire dangers in dry season

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon introduced a number of measures to guide specialised units at the sub-national level and the local community in joining forces to prevent wildfires over this year’s hot summer period.

“Every year, wildfires cause serious problems like the loss of forest resources, flooding and even burning rice crops and villages. This causes severe damage and serious losses to the Kingdom’s rural and national economies, natural resources and environment,” Sakhon said in a letter dated January 6 obtained by The Post on January 11.

Wildfires in Cambodia are frequently caused by human activities, such as burning brush that has been cleared on plantations, burning tree stumps in fields to make it easier to grow crops, creating grasslands for livestock or in poaching attempts as well as to harvest honey from wild bees.

To prevent wildfires, Sakhon said the authorities under the agriculture ministry have to stop everyone from lighting dangerous fires for any reason.

The authorities must work to prevent deforestation, clearing and burning of forests and flooded forests for the expansion of agricultural land because such activities are criminal offences.

When farmers and other need to use fire for legal activities they must notify the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and follow their guidance on the implementation of appropriate technical measures to ensure fire safety.

Those who are engaged in traditional exploration of non-timber forest products and activities such as the burning of resin pits are advised to put out their fires before leaving the area.

When wildfires occur, Sakhon writes in the letter, authorities have to take immediate measures to stop them and make declarations of emergency. The capital or provincial joint forces have to work with the local people to extinguish wildfires and prevent them from spreading further.

The minister warned that those who were found to have caused wildfires due to their activities will face legal action.

Long Sochet, head of the Coalition of Cambodian Fishers, told The Post that he and his team are currently educating community members to participate in implementing Sakhon’s measures to protect the flooded forest around the Tonle Sap Lake.

He added that the flooded forests were necessary for the survival of the fish and had contributed greatly to the livelihoods of people across the country.

“According to the forestry law and the fisheries law, anyone who intentionally causes a forest fire shall be punished by being imprisoned for a term of three to 10 years,” he said.


  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the