Tibet Autonomous Region, China — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered stepped-up efforts to prevent forest fires due to the high risk caused by the severe winter weather, which left large amounts of flammable debris in affected forest areas.
Southern China faced an increasing risk of forest fires due to warming weather and large volumes of broken branches and the like, Wen said.
The national forest fire prevention headquarters and similar agencies should improve their emergency plans, enhance leadership and strengthen coordination to ensure the safety of people and forests, he stressed.
Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu also called for enhanced efforts to prevent forest fires. Authorities should step up monitoring systems and enforce every single measure to prevent forest fires, Hui said.
The national forest fire prevention headquarters has sent several task forces to inspect and monitor local fire-prevention work. For their part, local forest fire prevention officials have stepped up satellite, air and ground monitoring in high-risk areas and accelerate construction of infrastructure, roads in forest areas and fire insulation zones.
Forest fires in Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou, Zhejiang, Guangxi and several other provincial-level regions have been put out or brought under control. No major forest fires were reported.