Wildfire outbreak in China’s Chongqing continues to grapple with record heat wave

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The fire, which is visible at night from some parts of the city, has engulfed the forests and mountains around the mega city in recent times.

On social media, residents of Chongqing city complained of the smell of smoke inside their apartments, while others posted photos The embers burning from the fire are reaching their balconies.

Local officials said forest fires have broken out in several outlying districts since August 18. The municipality is home to over 32 million people.

According to an update on Tuesday morning, the municipal authorities have not reported any casualties yet and said that the fire is under control.

More than 1,500 residents have been moved to safer areas, while 5,000 firefighters, police, local officials and volunteers and seven fire helicopters have been dispatched to help douse the blaze, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

As of Tuesday, all of Chongqing’s districts and counties have issued an order prohibiting the use of forest fires and fire-fighting activities.

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Professor Bai Ye of China’s Forest and Grassland Fire Prevention and Extinguishing Research Center told the official Beijing Daily that the fire in Chongqing was mainly the result of “spontaneous combustion” caused by extremely high temperatures.

forest fire a. has another knock-on effect severe heat wave – China’s worst since 1961 – which has swept through the country’s southwestern, central and eastern parts in recent weeks, with temperatures surpassing 40 °C (104 °F) in more than 100 cities.
They are also part of a global trend of wildfires that have ravaged regions from Australia to California, scientists say, driven by human-driven climate change as global temperatures rise. increase risk of these events.
Firefighters combat a mountain forest fire in Chongqing, China, on Aug. 22.Firefighters combat a mountain forest fire in Chongqing, China, on Aug. 22.
China’s heat wave has also brought increased demand for air-conditioning and a reduction in hydroelectric capacity. dry conditions Which has affected the country’s commercially important Yangtze River and associated waterways.
Earlier this week, Sichuan province, neighboring Chongqing, imposed temporary power cuts at factories in 19 of the region’s 21 cities. The power cuts will now last until at least Thursday, in a move the local government says will ensure residential electricity supply. Last week, Chengdu, the capital of the province, began dimming of subway stations In an effort to save electricity.

According to state media, Chongqing ordered the factories to suspend operations for seven days starting last Wednesday.

The high temperature is not ready to go anywhere yet.

On Tuesday morning, China issued a red alert heat warning, the highest of four colour-coded levels, for at least 165 cities and counties across the country.

According to the China Meteorological Administration, the temperature in these cities is likely to cross 40 degrees Celsius in the next 24 hours.

Another 373 cities or counties across China issued the second highest-ever orange warning alert, with the administration reporting that temperatures in these cities are expected to rise above 37 degrees Celsius over the next three days.

China’s Central Meteorological Observatory in a statement on Tuesday advised people to avoid outdoor activities during periods of high temperatures and limit work in hot conditions.

Chinese officials have previously said that more than 90 million people across the country have been affected by heatwaves this summer.

CNN’s Laura He and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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