Firefighters put out a forest fire in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, March 31, 2020. (Photo by Li Jieyi/Xinhua)
BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has demanded resolute efforts to curb the frequent occurrence of accidents and disasters and ensure the safety of people's lives and property.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave the instruction in response to a forest fire in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Nineteen people died while battling the forest fire, which started on Monday afternoon.
The victims include 18 firefighters and a local forest farmworker who led the way for the firefighters. They were trapped in the fire due to a sudden change in the wind direction.
Xi urged all-out efforts to put out the fire and prevent secondary disasters without endangering the firefighters' safety.
He demanded a high degree of attention to the prominent risks of fires and floods at this season, noting that several provinces had recently reported forest fires or safety accidents.
Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should thoroughly screen the risks of fires, landslides and workplace hazards while coordinating epidemic control and work resumption, Xi noted.
Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, stressed learning lessons from the recent occurrence of multiple forest fires and enhancing the monitoring and early warning systems to curb big forest fires from happening.
The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a working group and more back-up firefighters to Sichuan. Local authorities are evacuating residents and taking measures to protect nearby schools, gas stations and other key sites and facilities.