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National air rescue system for forest fires under plan

By Hou Liqiang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-03-31 10:57

Firefighters work to extinguish the blaze at a forest in the Greater Hinggan Mountains, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, June 3, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The country's top emergency management authority said it is working on a plan to establish a national air rescue system that could contribute to both forest fire control and other emergency rescue missions.

Yan Peng, deputy head of the forest fire control bureau with the Ministry of Emergency Management, said aircraft have played a significant role in both forest and prairie fire control in China.

They can not only help collect information that facilitates decision-making and assist in the transport of people and material for disaster relief, but have also proved to be efficient in fire control with aerial spraying.

Aircraft play an irreplaceable role in forest fire control because they can respond quickly with great flexibility and mobility. The limited number of aircraft with the ministry, however, has yet to cover many areas in the country's territory, he said.

His bureau now has 18 helicopters in Daqing, Heilongjiang province, and Kunming, Yunnan province, which could be mobilized by the State Council, or the country's cabinet, and the ministry. Meanwhile, the headquarters of forest protection stations with the bureau and its 47 branches also rent aircraft to facilitate their fire control work, said Yan, adding that both aircraft of the army and civilian associations have also made contributions.

“We are researching the establishment of a national air rescue system by integrating resources from various sectors and also enhancing support for the system. I believe air rescue forces will be more widely applied in both forest fire control and other emergency rescue tasks and play a more important role,” he said.

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