The roots of the forests surrounding Cambodia’s Tonle Sap lake spend half the year submerged in water. But in the past five years, they’ve been catching fire in the arid heat of the dry season. The government has rolled out plans to respond to these fires, as the weather in Cambodia’s rice bowl region is thwarting the usual pattern.
More recently, Cambodia has received an unusually high volume of rain since December, generally the start of the dry season, which spans from December to May. Ouk Vibol, director of the Agriculture Ministry’s Department of Fisheries Conservation, said that this prevented forest fires from spreading across the flooded forests.
Data from NASA visualized on Global Forest Watch showed there were only two high-confidence fire alerts reported in the forested area around Tonle Sap between April 1 and July 1, 2022. In comparison, NASA recorded 45 such alerts during the same period in 2021.