China / Russia — Chinese and Russian officials on Tuesday reached an agreement on increased cooperation in forest-fire prevention along the 4,300-kilometer Sino-Russian border.
Du Yongsheng, deputy commander-in-chief of the national forest prevention headquarters and chief of the forest security bureau under the State Forestry Administration, said that China and Russia should establish an annual meeting and the border provinces should hold emergency meetings when a forest fire threatens either side.
Victor Chicalyuk, deputy chief of the Russian forestry authorities, said Russia has built more than 230 firefighting centers on the Sino-Russian boundary.
“More than 40 aircraft and about 540 smoke jumpers are ready to to engage in firefighting,” Chicalyuk said.
Chicalyuk also suggested that China and Russia hold joint drills using the latest firefighting techniques.
The border area is covered by forests that can easily be ignited during spring and autumn. Forest fires are considered one of the toughest natural disasters to deal with and are extremely difficult to extinguish.
In 1995, China and Russia signed an agreement on jointly preventing the forest fires. In 2010, China established a forest fire stopping system that is 540-km long and 50-m wide in the joint-prevention area.
According to officials, in 2010 there were about 20,000 forest fires in Russia and thousands in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.