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Forest Fire Raging at Kunming's Doorstep
Latest Updated by 2006-04-06 09:48:04
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Forest Fire Raging at Kunming's Doorstep

Some 6,000 fire fighters are battling a forest fire that is just 20 kilometers from the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, Kunming.

Spokesman for the State Forestry Administration (SFA), Cao Qingyao, said the fire, which has been burning for seven days, has scorched nearly 666.67 hectares of forest in a suburb of the city of Anning. No casualties have been reported.

The official said that while the western front of the fire has been brought under control, it has spread with amazing speed to the eastern part of the forest, which is only 20 kilometers from Kunming.

The fire fighters are cutting a 53-km-long, 50-meter-wide fire break to prevent the fire from spreading to the capital.

About 700 nearby residents have already been relocated by the local government.

Jia Zhibang, head of the SFA, urged the fire brigade leaders to make a scientific plan to extinguish the fire, safeguard the lives of nearby residents and ensure the safety of fire fighters.

Police have detained a suspected arsonist but the woman, around 20 years old and clearly not a local, could not even provide basic information like her name and address. They plan to send her to local psychiatric facility to check whether she is mentally ill.

Police have placed notices in local newspapers seeking information on relatives or friends of the woman.

The General Office of the State Council on Tuesday reminded governments at all levels of their "responsibility" in preventing forest fires.

The State Council, the country's cabinet, wants to establish and improve the forest fire prevention and control systems to include comprehensive emergency plans and improved fire fighting methods.

The General Office of the State Council of China issued an urgent directive Tuesday, ordering localities to take substantial steps to prevent forest fires, following a series of forest fires in some parts of the country.

It gives special warnings to local governments and other relevant departments in the country's northern and southwestern areas which have experienced dry weather.

Fire-fighters should be organized in a scientific way, so as to put out fires safely and efficiently, while avoiding casualties among fire-fighters, it says.

It also calls for improvements to forest fire control headquarters at different levels, to help mobilize troops and police forces in the fight against forest fires.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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