Laotian Authorities Say Country's Wildfires Out Of Control - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th March, 2023) Laotian authorities are concerned that wildfires caused by farmers burning scrubs in preparation for sowing are out of control and could worsen due to a lack of firefighting equipment and the ongoing hot weather, local media reported on Tuesday.

The wildfires have already engulfed hundreds of hectares in different parts of the country, the Vientiane Times newspaper reported. Over 400 soldiers, volunteers and local residents have banded together to take control of a forest fire at Phou Khao Khouay sandstone mountain in the Pak Ngum district of Laotian capital, Vientiane, where at least 300 hectares (741 acres) of land are believed to have been affected, according to the report.

Authorities have called for more firefighting equipment to help extinguish the fire, which has covered over 300 hectares of land in the villages of Vernkabao, Xienglaena, Xienglaetha and Non, the newspaper reported, citing Pak Ngum district Deputy Governor Kongmy Sisamout.

In the Sangthong district, the fire has reportedly been going on for a week, and attempts to put it out have so far been unsuccessful.

According to the report, temperatures in Vientiane have reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), making the fires spread particularly quickly. Crop burning has also led to unprecedented air pollution in Vientiane and other parts of Laos. Authorities recommend avoiding outdoor walks and wearing a face mask when spending time in the open air.