Dry spell raises forest fire risk for NE China

Dryspell raises forest fire risk for NE China

8 March 2008

published by http://news.xinhuanet.com

China — The northeastern province of Jinlin was at high riskof forest fire due to a dry spell, higher temperatures and decreased rainfallthis winter, officials said.

The provincial meteorological bureau and forest fireprevention headquarters on Friday issued an orange alert warning for forestfires, the second most critical level after red.

The authorities banned open fires and warned residents to beon alert when using fire in their daily lives.

The province could expect rising temperatures and more strongwinds in the next week, said Liu Yuying, deputy director of the provincialmeteorological center.

Liu said that the past winter (November-February) had beenwarmer and drier than normal for the province. The average precipitation sincelast November was 39.5 millimeters, 36 percent down from a year earlier.

A dry spell was also gripping neighboring HeilongjiangProvince, which had seen both rain and snow decrease since last summer. Theaverage precipitation decreased by 40 percent compared with ordinary years.

In January, no snow fell in the forest area. In February,most of the province had no snow at all.

The provincial forestry authorities said the forest fire riskwas much higher this year and the period of fire prevention would be prolonged.

Earlier this month, the National Forest Fire PreventionHeadquarters warned local governments that the country faced an unprecedentedrisk of forest fire due to dry weather and large amounts of combustible debris,such as broken branches, that were left by severe winter weather.

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