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Despite climate change, China sees decline in wild fires
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Despite climate change, China sees decline in wild fires

Despite the increase risk of fires due to climate change, China has seen a sharp decline in the number of forest and prairie fires, thanks to its intensified efforts to enhance prevention work, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

Since the ministry was established in 2018, "the country has made marked progress in forest and prairie fire control", said Zhang Yongli, deputy head of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, an affiliate with the ministry.

The number of forest fires and the area of forest they damage, for example, stayed at "historical low levels" over the last two years, he said. In 2021, 616 forest fires were registered across the country. The number stood at 709 last year.

In a stark contrast, however, an average of 14,000 forest fires happened in the country every year in the 1980s, he continued.

The achievement was made thanks to the great efforts of the ministry to beef up fire prevention, he stressed.

Yan Peng, a leading official of the National Fire and Rescue Administration, also an affiliate with the ministry, noted a series of measures the ministry has taken to cope with a grim fire control situation due to an increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change. Because of global warming, the high frequency of extreme weather events and the continuous improvement in the country's ecological environment, forest and prairie fires, which previously happened seasonally, now happen throughout the entire year, he said.

The risk is no longer only high in certain regions, but rather across the country, he added.

One measure the ministry has taken is to have firefighters stationed in those areas prone to fire disasters, instead of letting them stand by in their camps. Some firefighters were even dispatched from northern part of the country to the far south to help local fire control work, he said.

He said the ministry has also made great endeavors to beef up its capability on aerial firefighting to enhance the efficiency in fire control work.

Yan vowed continuous efforts from the ministry to upgrade fire control facilities. The ministry will strive to promote the application of information and AI technologies in fire control work, he said. Yi

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