East China's Jiangxi Province is on high alert for forest fires after an unseasonal heat wave and drought.
In October alone, 137 forest fires were reported in the province, up 12.4-fold over the same period last year. The fires affected 1,173 hectares of forest, up 11 fold.
The average rainfall from July to October was only 20 to 60 percent of previous years, while temperatures reached close to 30 degrees Celsius early this month, according to the provincial meteorological station.
The provincial authority has taken intensive measures to ensure the core forest areas, including Lushan and Jianggang mountains Xishan hills in the capital of Nanchang. Local authorities have been urged to control outside fire use and prepare for any possible emergencies.
The dry spells would linger over parts of the province during the winter, said the meteorological station.
(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2003)