Print This Page Email This Page
War Against Forest Fire Rages on
Firefighters are now winning their battle to protect the country's largest virgin forests in the Greater Hinggan Mountains from the fires raging there since the end of July.

The fires sweeping the northern part of the Greater Hinggan Mountains have been brought under control, according to the firefighting command centre in Inner Mongolia.

Firefighters who have been working around the clock on the fires' frontline are busy mopping up the affected areas to ensure that the wind has no chance to rekindle the blaze from smouldering ash.

The summer bush fires, caused by powerful lightning strikes, were by far the country's worst in 53 years, according to Xiao Xingwei, director of the Fire Prevention Office under the State Forestry Administration.

Northern China has had hot and dry weather since July. Rainfall in the region has been nearly 60 per cent less than during the same period in previous years. The long spell of hot and dry weather triggered the devastating aftermath of the lightning.

Starting on July 28, 10 fires broke out one after another in the north of Inner Mongolia where the mountains lie.

Over 5,660 forest police and 8,000 forest workers were sent to fight the fires with the help of a modern monitoring system that can tell how fires are developing.

The People's Liberation Army air force and the civil aviation authorities also sent four helicopters, two Yun-5 planes and one artificial-rain-making plane to the region.

Some of the fires broke out in the depths of the virgin forest, far from water sources and in areas with few roads or places for helicopters to land.

Firefighters have to travel on foot in the forest. Sometimes they need to walk for 24 hours to get to the sites where the fires broke out.

During the last 20 or so days of firefighting, many of the firefighters slept in the field and hardly had a good rest.

With the joint efforts of local civilians and police, the fires' advance was effectively blocked.

Experts said that, since the trees in the region have a high moisture content, most of the fires were burning underground in the humus layer and only smoke rather than flames could be seen, which made it more difficult to predict which area would be affected.

Prolonged high temperatures of 30 C to 40 C in the area also slowed down efforts to put out the blazes.

But 20 minutes of rainfall on Thursday helped quench the bush fires before the dry and hot weather resumed.

Under the hot and dry weather conditions, the firefighting became more arduous and new sparks could occur at any time, said a firefighting command officer.

Therefore, fire crews are still on high alert though the forest blazes have been tamed.

State Forestry Administration officials warned that a red alert could be sounded in the northern part of the country, where it remains hot and dry.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the State Forestry Administration has urged local government departments to take measures to prevent more fires in the area.

(China Daily, August 19, 2002)

Related Stories

Print This Page Email This Page
'Tomorrow Plan' Helps Disabled Orphans
First Chinese Volunteers Head for South America
East China City Suspends Controversial Chemical Project Amid Pollution Fears
Second-hand Smoke a 'Killer at Large'
Private Capital Flows to Developing Countries Hit New Record in 2006
Survey: Most of China's Disabled Not Financially Independent

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys