Severe drought poses fire risk in NE China

Updated: 2012-02-08 16:40


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HARBIN - Authorities in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province said Wednesday that the forest-rich region is facing a grim challenge in fire prevention due to a lingering drought.

The province has experienced a severe lack of precipitation since last summer, the Heilongjiang Provincial Headquarters for Forest and Grassland Fire Prevention announced in a statement.

Statistics from meteorological authorities show that the region experienced 16 percent less rainfall last summer and 47 percent less rainfall last autumn in comparison to previous years, the lowest precipitation levels seen in 45 years, the statement said.

In January alone, average snowfall stood at only 0.8 mm, or 76 percent less than the annual average for the region.

It is predicted that the drought will continue for another two months, which will make forest fire prevention a difficult task, the statement said.

Local authorities have been mobilized to monitor the situation and guard against forest fires, it said.

With more than 20 million hectares of forests, Heilongjiang has a total forest coverage of 43.6 percent, the largest in the country.