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Series of Forest Fires Threatening Korea

DATE : 2009-04-14

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Series of forest fires this spring season is seriously affecting the Korean forests.
Not enough precipitation past winder and extended drought until this spring have worsen the fire threats.

The Korean government publicly announced to extend the "Forest Fire Special Precaution Advisory" to April 12.
It was yet re-extended to April 26, as no rain is expected for some time.

The forest fire attacks initially concentrated in the southwestern and central Korea, and later expanded to Kangwon region.
The forest fire danger is extremely high nationwide at the moment. In order to minimize fire threats, officers from local governments , Korea Forest Service, and related agencies are temporarily working on the emergency mode.

The concerned authorities are strongly advising the local residents to refrain from burning paddy fields and garbage in rural areas so as to reduce the fire hazards.



Immediately after the initial "Forest Fire Special Precaution Advisory" was announced on April 3, the number of forest fire occurrence up until April 11 reach total of 148 cases burning 277ha. This is 5 times more forest fires compared to 2008 and twice the 10 year average in the same period.

10 cases of forest fire occurred on April 12 alone. The fire that occured in the late afternoon of April 11 led to night fire. Fire line was established by ground crew overnight and at daybreak 15 helicopters were mobilized to completely extinguished the fire.

Mr. Chung Kwang-soo, the Minister of Korea Forest Service supervised the fire control operations at the on-site command center and advised the concerned officers to pay utmost attention in the mop-up phase. He further extended his encouragement and appreciation to the pilots and forestry officials who have been fighting fires for more than 10 hours everyday for 10 consecutive days and asked them to carefully look after safety measures.

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