Another wild fire has been completely extinguished in the north of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with the number of firefighters now totaling more than 8,000, according to the latest report from the firefighting command in the region.
The report said that by noon yesterday, all five remaining fires raging in northern parts of the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Northeast China were under control.
Two of the fires have been extinguished, the sites of two more are totally under control and are being cleared to ensure that the wind has no chance to rekindle the blaze from smoldering ash, and the last fire is under control, according to the report.
The wildfire, caused by powerful lightning strikes in the tinder-dry forest on July 27, was by far the worst blaze of it kind in the past 53 years, said Xiao Xingwei, director of the Fire Prevention Office under the State Forestry Administration.
"Fires caused by powerful lightning strikes between July and August have not been seen in the area in the last 20 years," said Xiao in an interview with Xinhua.
Since trees have a high moisture content, most of the fires were burning underground in the humus layer, according to Xiao.
It took some time for firefighters to control the fires, as the outbreaks were far from water sources, with few roads or places for helicopters to land, the official noted.
"Prolonged high temperatures of 30 C to 40 C in the area and thick foliage frustrated efforts to put out the blazes," said Xiao.
(China Daily August 13, 2002)