Nguyen Thi Hao stands in court on October 11, 2019 for causing forest fire in Ha Tinh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Canh Hoang.
A Ha Tinh court Friday sentenced a local woman to two years in jail for inadvertently setting fire to seven hectares of forest.
Nguyen Thi Hao, 36, was found guilty of “breaching regulations on fire prevention and fighting,” in burning grass near the forest, a crime that carries up to eight years’ imprisonment under Vietnam’s Penal Code.
However, the defendant was entitled to leniency as she declared her mistake honestly, the court ruled.
According to the indictment, Hao was burning grass on a rice field near the forest in Son Trung Ward of the central Ha Tinh Province, when strong winds caused the fire to spread to the forest in the morning of June 27.
Hao and several other people in the area tried to put out the fire but failed. She was arrested on July 10.
The same day, thousands of forest rangers, firefighters, soldiers and policemen managed to extinguish the fire at 4 p.m. But more than three hectares (7.4 acres) of 30-year-old pine forest were completely burned by then. The damage was estimated at VND400 million ($17,240).
From June 25 to 30, forest fires broke out in the communes of Nghi Xuan, Loc Da, Duc Tho, Huong Son and others in Ha Tinh Province due to heat waves, turning over 250 hectares (617 acres) of forest to ash.