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Official: Heavy Snow Adds to Forest Fire Risk in Spring

China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) warned on Friday that trees killed by the current winter frost in the southern regions could lead to fire disasters when the weather gets warmer.

Cao Qingyao, an administration spokesperson, said dead trees and broken branches would significantly increase the amount of inflammable materials in the forests.

The northern region, however, would suffer from less rain in the first two months of the year, and dry plants were also vulnerable to flames.

The administration has started to prepare in advance for the spring fire-prevention campaign and has ordered local authorities to chart out sufficient responsive measures, Cao said.

Last year, the country recorded 8,089 forest fires that damaged 23,462 hectares of forest land.

This year, China plans to increase its forested area by 5.2 million hectares through tree-planting efforts.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)

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