Human factors behind 98% of forest fires

Human factors behind 98% of forest fires

8 December 2007

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China — Human factors were blamed for the majority of the forest fires which occurred in south China in the first ten months, according the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

During Jan.-Oct. period, 12 southern regions saw 5,873 cases of forest fires, 78 percent of the nation’s total of 7,553 cases.

Human factors, such as land clearing and cigarette littering, were behind 4,768 cases of forest fires, 98.3 percent of the 4,850 cases in southern regions whose causes have been specified, the administration said.

This highlighted insufficient forest fire monitoring and prevention efforts of the local authorities, said Lei Jiafu, SFA’s deputy chief.

Some regions in the south of the country are suffering from severe drought, which puts the forests there at high fire risks.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu On Monday called for more vigilance to guard against forest fires in the drought-hit southern regions.

Hui told a televised meeting that local authorities in the southern regions should monitor forests 24 hours a day and immediately report when forest fires occur.

He also ordered putting in place firefighters and fire-fighting facilities near the forests that are in high danger of fires.

The vice premier underscored intricate planning and scientific leadership to prevent loss of life in forest fires and vowed to severely punish officials who cause huge loss of lives because of dereliction of duty.

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