China battles forest fire in northeast mountains

China battles forest fire in northeastmountains

1 May 2007

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China — China was sending thousands of personnel to battle a forest fireacross a 3 km (1.9 mile) front in its remote northeastern mountains on Tuesday,the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters had reached the scene of the blaze in the GreatXingan Mountains, near the Russian border in Heilongjiang Province, after thealarm was sounded on Monday.

The local meteorological bureau has forecast strong winds in the next fewdays, which could make controlling the fire difficult, Xinhua said.

A 1987 fire in the heavily forested Great Xingan Mountains, China’s worstblaze in four decades, killed at least 200 people and destroyed some 1 millionhectares (2.5 million acres) of timberland in three weeks.

The State Forestry Administration said in January that China could face an”extremely serious” threat from forest fires this year because ofglobal warming and the El Nino effect, which is caused by warming of Pacificwaters off South America and can disrupt rainfall patterns.

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