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Fire-prevention attempt causes blaze
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-26 05:44

Up to 4,500 firefighters are tackling a blaze that has burned 110,000 hectares of forests in the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Northeast China's HeilongJiang Province.

The fire started late last Saturday on a forest farm in the province's Nenjiang County, when workers tried to create a fire-prevention belt, according to a source who asked not to be named.

Trees and grass are regularly burned to create isolation belts to prevent massive forest fires.

However, this fire-prevention operation went disastrously wrong when strong winds unexpectedly changed direction.

The fire has so far burned down 30 houses in northern parts of Huma County, affecting at least 140 locals.

The fire at one point threatened three other forest farms linking 25 towns and villages in the Greater Hinggan Mountains, one of China's major forest zones.

Fortunately, the threat has been controlled largely controlled, local sources said.

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu has ordered forestry authorities to muster enough forest police to put out the fire as soon as possible, according to a source with the State Forestry Administration yesterday.

To prevent further fires in the future, local authorities have urged all forest farms to give up this traditional method of fire-prevention.

(China Daily 10/26/2005 page2)

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