Almost all forest fires in Beijing are man-caused, with only one exception ever recorded. Beijing’s forest fire prevention authorities are paying close attention to the forest fire in Russia that started mid-July, and at the same time, are also well-prepared to prevent forest fires in Beijing, according to Ning Jinjie, director of the Forest Public Security Davison of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau, while giving an interview on August 12.
Shi Guisheng, vice director of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau, said that Beijing now has a forest area of over 1 million hectares, with its forest landscaping ratio standing at 52.6 percent and its forest coverage rate at 36.7 percent. The total value of Beijing’s forest resources is 614.8 billion yuan and the ecosystem service value is 553.9 billion yuan. The major responsibility of the landscaping departments is to protect the forest from fires. “All the forest fires in Beijing are man-caused fires since records have been kept and there was only one that was self-ignited,” said Ning. Beijing has achieved the goal of no significant fires and no persons wounded for the seventh consecutive year. However, because people still use fire outside when they sweep graves or do other things, the Beijing forest fire prevention departments received about 170 alerts for one year.
Ning said that in order to respond to forest fires, Beijing has 99 professional teams, including 42 urban and county teams and 56 township teams, and the number of team members have reached 2,800. Meanwhile, Beijing has 179 sightseeing towers, which can give firemen an early warning or alarm. In addition, there are more than 50,000 ecological forest guards in Beijing. Moreover, forest fire prevention authorities can use special helicopters with the cooperation of the PLA which can arrive on scene within 30 minutes after a call reporting a forest fire is received, and quickly put out the fire.
Considering combustible materials, vegetation, and weather, experts believe that the risk of forest fires will reach a higher level in the winter.
Kong Lingshui, captain of the inspection team of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry said during an interview that not many communities in Beijing have encroached on the urban green space. The main problem is that the green space illegally occupied by some residents, the trees that some residents have planted, and the overall green space plan all do not meet basic requirements. The Beijing landscaping system receives about 1,000 cases of people illegally encroaching on and occupying green space. Citizens can report to the urban law enforcement departments or landscaping departments when they discover people or companies encroaching and occupying green spaces, and the landscaping department will manage and punish those people in accordance with the Beijing Municipal Provisions on Greening, which was launched on March 1, 2010.