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Fire engulfs protective forest in Hanoi

Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 11:23 GMT+7

A vast area of protective forest in Hanoi’s Soc Son District was engulfed in flames on Monday as a raging fire that broke out at noon continued well into the night.

Homes closest to the fire were evacuated for safety reasons, local officials confirmed.

The fire reportedly began at around 1:10 pm at a forest in Nam Son Commune, Soc Son District, according to Nguyen Thanh Dong, chief of the Nam Son Police.

“By 7:00 pm, the fire had still not been extinguished, as flames and smoke could still be seen over a large area,” Dong said. “The entire local firefighting and police forces have been mobilized to prevent the fire from spreading further.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, though authorities suspect the culprit to be the extreme heat that lingered over the Vietnamese capital over the past week.

It is not immediately clear how much damage has been caused by the wild fire.

Nguyen Quang Dau, chief commander of the Border Guard Command of Soc Son District, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper at 9:30 pm on Monday that the fire had still not been contained despite continued firefighting efforts.

According to Dau, several personnel suffered from smoke inhalation, though their conditions were not critical.

Cháy rừng phòng hộ Sóc Sơn, Hà Nội

Smoke from the forest fire is visible from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A senior official from the administration of Nam Son Commune said locals living near the fire had been evacuated for safety reasons.

By 10:00 pm, reinforcements were still being mobilized to contain and extinguish the fire, Dong said.

According to the police chief, the swath of forest affected by the fire is protective forest under the management of Soc Son District’s State Forest Enterprise.

Vuong Van But, chairman of the Soc Son People’s Committee, also arrived on the scene to assist firefighting efforts.

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