Chinese vice premier calls for vigilance over vegetation fires

2008-03-20 07:52:44 Xinhua English

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Thursday urged governments at all levels to guard against forests and grasslands fire.

Flammable debris is plentiful in the south after the winter storm and severe draught has hit the north, he said at a national meeting held here.

Hui said coordination between different departments should be enhanced to better fight against the fires, and that public awareness should also be raised.

According to the State Forestry Administration, there were 690 forest fires during the first five days of March, killing 43 people and injuring 14.

A forest fire in the Tibet Autonomous Region, whipped up by winds, was extinguished on March 9 after a four-day fight. The estimated loss totaled 530,000 yuan.