Officials questioned over deadly forest fires

09 April 2020

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CHINA – National forest firefighting authorities have held talks with representatives from the government of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province and the government of Liangshan prefecture in Sichuan regarding the recent forest fire incidents that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters and caused extensive property losses for local people.

The two local officials were questioned by Xu Pingzhu, director of the forest fire bureau, who pointed out their lax management over firefighting work in the region, problematic command system and weak abilities of their firefighting teams, the Global Times learned from China’s Ministry of Emergency Management on Thursday.

From the discussion, it emerged that 42 forest and grassland fires occurred in Sichuan Province in March, a year-on-year increase of 163 percent.

Among the cases, a forest fire in Xichang, Liangshan prefecture on March 30 took the lives of 19 local firefighters, left three severely injured, and also destroyed a number of houses.

Fires have been frequently reported in Liangshan in recent years. A forest fire in Muli county, Liangshan, on March 30, 2019, killed 31 people, 27 of whom were firefighters.

Xu ordered the governments in Sichuan and Liangshan to strengthen the firefighting forces in the region, improve equipment and facilities and enhance fire prevention and control mechanisms to ensure the safety of people and property.

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