The Siem Reap provincial authorities are joining hands to extinguish a fire that has engulfed around 10ha of flooded forest in the Veal Krom area in Siem Reap town’s Chreav district since Wednesday.

Siem Reap town police chief Nop Sarak told The Post on Monday that a number of machinery and nearly 100 people took part in the operation.

Sarak said because there is no access for fire trucks to the area, the authorities and villagers had to use tree branches as a means to put out the flames, though they were of little use.

On Sunday, the Siem Reap Provincial Administration ordered all relevant authorities to join hands, deploying more than 100 people, five fire trucks, one excavator, two bulldozers and five tractors.

“By this time [3:15pm], the authorities had put out around 80 per cent of the fire. We tried to put it under control by Monday night,” Sarak said.

Chan Tong, deputy head of the provincial Fisheries Administration, told The Post on Monday that forest fires in Cambodia are generally caused by human factors.

He said some people used fire to get bee hives, while others illegally ignite fires in the forest trap wildlife.

“Over the past five days, the fire has damaged nearly 10ha of the flooded forest.

“At this time, our police forces have successfully prevented the fire from spreading, so by Monday night we should be able to put it out completely,” he said.

Tong said as a precaution, his team has worked in collaboration with the local authorities to educate villagers about the dangers of using fire to get bee hives and the official ban on the practice.

He said despite the prohibition, some people still continue the practice.

In a separate case, Tong said flooded forest totalling 11ha in Sotr Nikum district’s Danrun and Kampong Khlaing communes were also destroyed in fire.