China fights brush fires, extends power rationing in drought

Aug 21, 2022, 10:41 PM | Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 9:43 pm
A man stands in shallow water near the dry riverbed of the Yangtze River in southwestern China's Ch...

A man stands in shallow water near the dry riverbed of the Yangtze River in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. Ships crept down the middle of the Yangtze on Friday after the driest summer in six decades left one of the mightiest rivers shrunk to barely half its normal width and set off a scramble to contain damage to a weak economy in a politically sensitive year. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — Brush fires have forced the evacuation of more than 1,500 people in southwest China and power rationing for factories has reportedly been extended as weeks of record heat and drought batter the region.

Some shopping malls in the megacity of Chongqing have been ordered closed for most of the day to reduce electricity demand, state broadcaster CCTV said, limiting opening hours to 4 to 9 p.m.

The drought and heat have wilted crops and caused rivers including the giant Yangtze to shrink, disrupting cargo traffic and reducing power supply from hydroelectric dams at a time of soaring demand for air conditioning. State media say the government will try to protect the autumn grain harvest, which is 75% of China’s annual total, by shooting chemicals into clouds to try to generate rain.

The disruption adds to challenges for the ruling Communist Party, which is trying to shore up sagging economic growth before a meeting this fall at which President Xi Jinping is expected to be given a third five-year term as party leader.

There was no public announcement of the extension of power rationing in Sichuan province into a second week, but it was detailed in a company statement and a government notice to companies that was reported by Chinese news outlets.

The “tense situation” of power supplies in Sichuan province “has further intensified,” Tencent News said Monday in a report that included a photo of the government notice.

LIER Chemical Co. said in an announcement through the stock exchange in the southern city of Shenzhen that its facilities in the cities of Jinyang and Guang’an in Sichuan received an order extending power rationing through Thursday.

Factories in Sichuan that make processor chips, solar panels, auto components and other industrial goods were required to shut down or reduce activity last week to conserve power for homes as air conditioning demand surged in temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Air conditioning, elevators and lights were shut off in offices and shopping malls.

In Shanghai, a factory and shipping hub on China’s east coast, Tesla Ltd. and a major state-owned automaker suspended production last week due to disruption in supplies of components from Sichuan, the Shanghai city government said.

Sichuan, with 94 million people, is especially hard-hit because it gets 80% of its power from hydroelectric dams. Other provinces rely more on coal-fired power, which isn’t affected.

Economists say if Sichuan reopens relatively soon, the national impact should be limited because the province accounts for only 4% of China’s industrial output.

The Chinese government says this summer is China’s hottest and driest since it began keeping temperature and rainfall records in 1961. Temperatures have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the past week and longer.

Brush fires in outlying areas of Chongqing, which borders Sichuan, are the latest scourge resulting from the heat and drought.

More than 1,500 residents had been moved to shelters, while around 5,000 civilian and military personnel had been mobilized to put out the blazes, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

Helicopters have been sent to drop water on the fires, supporting crews on the ground who have in the past been left to their own resources.

In 2019, a wildfire in the mountains of Sichuan province killed 30 firefighters and volunteers.

No deaths have yet been reported as a result of the heat wave, Xinhua said, although that could not be independently verified.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, speaks to ...
Associated Press

Flynn, Gingrich testimony sought in Georgia election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election filed paperwork Friday seeking to compel testimony from a new batch of Trump allies, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Immigrants seeking asylum who were recently reunited arrive at a hotel in San Antonio, July ...
Associated Press

Families separated at border push back on new evaluations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Parents suing after being separated from their children at the U.S-Mexico border are pushing back against a Justice Department effort to require additional psychological evaluations to measure how much the U.S. policy traumatized them, court documents show. The effect of the Trump-era policy that was maligned as inhumane by political and religious […]
16 hours ago
First lady Jill Biden gestures while meeting with medical professionals and students during a visit...
Associated Press

Jill Biden: ‘How could we go back?’ after Roe is overturned

Jill Biden on Friday used the story of how one of her teenage friends ended a pregnancy at a time when abortion was illegal, including being declared mentally unfit, to illustrate what she says is at stake for women in November’s elections. “How could we go back to that time?” the first lady asked in […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., is pictured on July 16, 2013. The ...
Associated Press

VUMC to pause, review gender-affirming surgeries for minors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced Friday that they are pausing gender-affirming surgeries for minors in order to review their practices. The news, delivered in a letter sent to a lawmaker who has demanded an end to the surgeries, was publicly released Friday afternoon. It comes amid mounting political pressure […]
16 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2019, photo, teachers and students from Northwest Montessori School in Seatt...
Associated Press

Gray whale population off western U.S. continues to decline

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. researchers say the number of gray whales off western North America has continued to fall over the last two years, a decline that resembles previous population swings over the past several decades. According to an assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries released Friday, the most recent count put […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Birmingham, Ala., Police Department shows Patrick...
Associated Press

US jury convicts man in deadly Alabama kidnapping of child

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man was convicted Friday on two federal charges in a 2019 kidnapping that led to the death of a 3-year-old girl, whose disappearance from a Birmingham birthday party led to 10 days of frantic searches. Patrick Devone Stallworth, 42, was convicted on the two kidnapping counts and faces a […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
China fights brush fires, extends power rationing in drought