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State Council issues national emergency plan for forest, grassland fires

Updated: Nov 24,2020 16:35

The General Office of the State Council issued a circular on Nov 23 on the national emergency plan for forest and grassland fires.

The circular stated that people’s lives should be uppermost in addressing forest and grassland fires. It also is aimed at protecting forest and grassland resources and maintaining ecological security.

Response to forest and grassland fires should be coordinated with graded responsibility under a centralized leadership, and adopt a responsibility system of administrative chiefs in local governments.

The emergency plan grades forest and grassland fires into four levels: general, large, serious and particularly serious. The plan is to serve as a guide in organizing firefighting, rescuing and evacuating people, protecting civilians and important military targets, transferring important supplies and maintaining social stability.

The National Forest and Grassland Fire Prevention and Fighting Command is responsible for organizing, coordinating and guiding the forest and grassland fire prevention and firefighting. The office of the command is set in the Ministry of Emergency Management, with personnel coming from the ministry itself, the Ministry of Public Security, and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Forest and grassland firefighting should mainly rely on professionally trained firefighting forces supported by the People's Liberation Army and the Armed Police. When necessary, local forest staff, government officials and local people can be mobilized.

Fire alarms should be released to departments concerned, and to the public in risk-related areas through alarm information platforms, radio, television, newspapers, the internet, WeChat official accounts, and emergency broadcasts.

When a fire occurs, departments concerned should study the weather, terrain, and environment conditions, and determine whether the fire is threatening populated residential areas or important hazardous facilities.

When populated areas such as residential communities and farming and stockbreeding zones are threatened by forest and grassland fires, effective fire prevention measures should be taken. Residents should be evacuated in an organized, orderly and timely manner in accordance with the emergency evacuation plan.

When important targets and major hazardous institutions such as military facilities, nuclear facilities, hazardous chemical production and storage facilities and equipment, oil and gas pipelines and railway lines are threatened by a fire, professional teams should be swiftly mobilized.

The management on public security and road traffic in fire-affected areas should be strengthened with serious punishment on illegal and criminal acts.

In order to respond to social concerns, timely, accurate, objective and comprehensive information of forest and grassland fires and response progress should be released through authorized channels, press releases, interviews, press conferences, professional institutions’ websites, official Weibo and WeChat accounts.

Once the fires are extinguished, firefighters should be organized to prevent after-burning and putting out any remaining fires.

According to the circular, the construction of forest and grassland firefighting material reserves in key areas should be strengthened, and production capacity of important materials and regional distribution should be ensured. A centralized production and allocation scheduling mechanism should be set up in response to material supply shortages that may occur under extreme conditions.

Local governments at or above the county level should organize departments concerned to investigate and evaluate the fire’s cause, parties liable, burned areas, casualties, and other economic losses, the circular said.