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Disaster teams respond to forest fires

By Jiang Chenglong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-23 09:41
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Firefighters try to contain a forest fire in Bijie, Guizhou province, on Feb 19, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's disaster response authorities are going all out, including dispatching guidance teams to the front lines, to deal with a spate of wildfires in Southwest China caused by weather and human factors.

Wildfires have been reported recently in the provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

According to the National Fire and Rescue Administration, a wildfire broke out in a village in Leye county, Guangxi, on Wednesday morning. No one was trapped by the blaze, and by Thursday morning, 1,022 people had participated in firefighting efforts.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the forest fire was caused by a short circuit in a power line in strong winds.

The firefighting efforts are continuing, and the situation has been brought under control with no casualties reported.

According to Xinhua News Agency, from Sunday to Tuesday, three wildfires hit Yunnan, with two in the city of Zhaotong and one in the provincial capital Kunming.

By Tuesday, all three fires had been put out, with no casualties reported. The causes are under investigation.

At least eight wildfires of varying sizes occurred in Guizhou from Feb 11 to Feb 19, with local disaster relief personnel mobilized immediately, according to local authorities in the mountainous province.

Six of the fires broke out in rural areas of Guiyang, the provincial capital, all caused by human factors, including unextinguished cigarette butts, illegal use of fire for ancestral worship, and the burning of weeds in cultivated fields.

Police said the people responsible have been taken into custody.

Two grassroots firefighters died on Wednesday while fighting a blaze in Guizhou's Qianxinan Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture that spread from the city of Liupanshui on Monday.

By Wednesday morning, the wildfire in Qianxinan had been effectively controlled.

According to local media reports, the wildfire that spread from Liupanshui was caused by a villager surnamed Lu who burned grass in a field, causing vegetation on nearby mountains to catch fire.

Lu has been subjected to 15 days of detention by police.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Emergency Management announced that the central government had dispatched an emergency working group to Guizhou to coordinate and guide firefighting efforts.

Upon arrival, the working group organized departments to analyze the current firefighting situation and plan firefighting efforts, it said in a news release.

The group called for a thorough analysis of the geographical environment, meteorological conditions and the situation at the fire scene to develop plans for evacuation, relocation and resettlement, it said.

The ministry and the Office of the National Forest Fire Prevention Command warned on Wednesday that the risk of forest fires in parts of Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan province and Guangxi would be at a highly dangerous level through Sunday.

The warning said Southwest China has experienced a long drought, making forest vegetation dry and flammable.

It said that tourism, folk worship and other factors had led to a temporary increase in the lighting of fires outdoors.

The ministry and the office said local governments must effectively strengthen controls to prevent forest fires.

The National Forestry and Grassland Administration announced on Thursday that it had dispatched a working group to Yunnan to coordinate and guide forest fire prevention work.

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