Forest fire in Koh Kong

2019-09-06 11:40:46

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Police officials fight the fire in the forest adjacent to the one-time Koh Kong airport. courtesy of Reaksmey Kampuchea

The forest near the former airport in Koh Kong province’s Khemarak Phumin town conflagrated at around 9 pm on Friday night (Feb. 22), but police and local officials brought the blaze under control and prohibited it spreading to nearby villagers’ houses.

Khemarak Phumin Police Chief, Colonel Heng Leang, said that the blaze was probably caused by a lit cigarette that someone carelessly threw into the dry grass by the fence surrounding the former airport.

“We tried to put out the fire and stop it from spreading to the houses and parked cars. We got it under control, and had it completely out by around 11:30 pm.  We needed three fire trucks, one from the town’s police station and the other two from the provincial police station.”

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The blazing woodland near the former Koh Kong airport. Photo: courtesy of Reaksmey Kampuchea

Col. Leang said that the fire harmed no houses and caused no injuries or deaths, and yet he still urges “… all people to be careful of, and pay attention to, open fires during the hot season.”

Late last month, the Ministry of Environment issued a forest fire alert because the Kingdom will see higher temperatures this year caused by El Nino.  The hot weather could spark fires through natural and/or human activities, and the ministry instructed local authorities to take steps to prevent this.

The Kingdom will be indirectly affected by the El Nino phenomenon in April and May, which will cause temperatures to rise to 40-42 degrees Celsius.