China allocates 20 mln yuan to battle expected forest fires

Chinaallocates 20 mln yuan to battle expected forest fires

13 March 2008

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China — China’s forestry authority has allocated 20 millionyuan (about 2.8 million U.S. dollars) worth of fire-fighting equipment to 12provinces which are ravaged by or are likely to suffer more forest fires as thetemperature rises.

According to the State Forest Administration (SFA) onWednesday, the 12 provinces, including Jiangxi, Hunan, Fujian and Hubei, werefacing an increasing risk of forest fires due to warming weather and largevolumes of flammable debris after the winter snowstorms.

Some 24,000 units of equipment, including fire extinguishers,fire-proof suits, and other facilities would be delivered to these regions, LiuXiongying, official with the SFA told Xinhua.

The bitter winter has left southern China vulnerable toforest fires as snowfalls collapsed tree branches.

According to SFA, 690 forest fires have been reportednationwide during the first five days in March, with 43 people killed and 14wounded.

The recent forest fire in the Tibet Autonomous Region,whipped up by winds, was extinguished on Sunday after a four-day fight. Theestimated loss totalled 530,000 yuan.

According to a weather report the national climate centerreleased Tuesday, precipitation in February averaged 13.1 mm across China, 42.4percent lower than the previous average level, adding more pressure to fireprevention.

The center warned local fire prevention departments to be onhigh alert as more windy and dry weather was forecast in March.

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