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Blaze Sweeping Through Provincial Forest

A fire in two provinces has destroyed 2,000 hectares of forest and is still burning, with authorities unable to stop it.

The fire, in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey province, was caused by villagers burning their rice fields, and hot weather and dry conditions allowed it to spread, officials said Wednesday.

“Since April 19, the fire started in Preah Neak Preah district in Banteay Meanchey, and it spread to Preak Tol district of Battambang,” Kok Elen, chief section director of the Preak Tol fishery, told VOA Khmer. “We don’t have the capability to end it.”

No person has been injured in the fire, but the blaze has so far killed 10 monkeys and five turtles, he said.

Brig. Gen. Sar Theth, chief of Battambang police, said the authorities could not reach the fire by road with trucks. “I sent three fire trucks to that area, but we couldn’t reach the place.”

The fire has also destroyed 10 artillery shells at a former Vietnamese storage facility, he said.

Um Sakhon, governor of Ek Phnom district, Battambang, said Wednesday that commune officials there were trying to mobilize villages to beat the fire back with brooms, sticks and water buckets.