Weather Rockets Curb Forest Fire amid SW China Drought

Weather Rockets Curb Forest Fire amid SW China Drought

18 February 2010

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China —  Southwest China’s Yunnan Province launched 1,555 weather rockets Wednesday and Thursday to curb the risk of forest fire amid the worst drought in 60 years, said provincial meteorological authorities.

The artificial precipitation caused 25 mm rainfall in the northwestern part of Yunnan, 3 mm to 5 mm rainfall in southeastern areas. Most of the province’s west had only 1 mm to 3 mm rainfall, according to a statement from Yunnan Meteorological Observatory Thursday.

The rainfall, which was expected to end on Friday, had prevented Yunnan’s risk of forest fires from climbing but was not strong enough to relieve the prolonged drought, the statement said.

A forest fire killed three people Tuesday on a mountain of Binchuan County in Dali City, one of Yunnan’s hottest tourist destinations. The fire is now under control and mostly put out, a county official said anonymously.

The severe drought and windy weather has allowed forest fires to spread quickly, according to the provincial forestry department.

The fire control headquarters said 84 forest fires had been reported since November last year, up 611 percent from the same period in the previous year.

The drought will continue as no significant rainfall is forecast in the near future, according to the statement.

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