BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- China is beefing up efforts to prevent forest and grassland fires ahead of the upcoming Tomb-sweeping Day amid high wildfire risks.
The traditional holiday, which falls on Friday this year, is a time for Chinese people to mourn the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. The tributes involve burning incense and joss paper, as well as setting off firecrackers.
Over the past five years, 35 percent of forest and grassland fires in China happened in April, and 90 percent of the fires were triggered by human activities, with a large share linked to tomb-sweeping activities, the national forest and grassland fire control command office said in a circular to local authorities.
While calling for enhanced safety inspection of cemeteries, graveyards, oil and gas pipelines, as well as key areas such as forest parks, nature reserves, state forest farms and pastures to defuse fire hazards, the agency urged for work on fire alarms and forecasts to ensure early detection and strong emergency response, and encouraged people to use safer ways to mourn the deceased.
The Ministry of Emergency Management has also issued warnings on fire risks during the Tomb-sweeping holiday, urging the public to mind fire sources and not block key facilities for evacuation and firefighting.
China issued the first red alert for forest fire of this year Monday, warning of week-long "extremely high" fire risks for the northern areas of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei and southern parts of Shanxi and Sichuan.