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Worst coalfield fire extinguished in NW. China region
Updated: 2004-11-01 00:35

After four years' efforts, Liuhuanggou Coalfield fire, China's worst in terms of area under flame, has been put out.

A yearlong observation period started Monday for the coalfield in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyguir Autonomous Region, according to the Xinjiang Coalfield Fire Fighting Project Office.

Hou Xuecheng, head of the office, said Liuhuanggou fire area ranked first among the eight major coalfield fire areas in the region. The nation has invested 98.72 million yuan (11.9 million US dollars) in fighting the fire at Liuhuanggou, Hou added.

The efforts would help reduce loss of 1.76 million tons of coal resources annually, ensure the safety of 1.5 billion tons of quality coal at the coalfield and restore a vegetation area of 2. 02 million square meters.

 Located 40 kilometers southwest of Urumqi, the regional capital, the Liuhuanggou fire area used to annually emit more than 100,000 tons of harmful gases, including carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, and about 40,000 tons of dust and smog, Hou estimated.

 Local meteorological center said that the fire fighting project has a positive effect to the air quality of Urumqi and the nearby Changji prefecture.

 It is reported that Xinjiang accounts for 1.8 trillion tons, or 40.6 percent, of China's total coal reserves. Most of the resources in the region are of high quality.

 Dry climate is seen as one of the major factors behind coalfield fires in the autonomous region.

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