A fire had engulfed about 1,600 hectares of forest in southwestern SichuanProvince by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, with no casualties reported.
The fire, which was caused by an explosion detonatedby some local geological surveyors for research purposes, broke out at the MuliTibet Autonomous County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan at 4:00p.m. June 1, according to local forest fire control authorities.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters have been working toextinguish the fire and the government has induced artificial rainfall in thearea.
“Although firefighters have put out the fire onthe eastern part, we can’t say the fire has been brought under controltotally,” said an official with the fire control authorities who refused togive his name.
A special working team, headed by Du Yongsheng,director of the fire control office under the State Forestry Administration, hasreached Muli on Tuesday evening to direct the fire combating and rescueoperations.
Muli County boasts the largest forest reserve inSichuan. This is the third forest fire in the area during the past three weeks.The previous two fires were put out on May 24 and 28 respectively.
The destroyed forest is located on a mountain ridgeabout 3,200 meters above the sea level. The hot and dry weather conditions alsoadd to the difficulties in fire fighting, said the official.
The Sichuan provincial government has instructedlocal governments of all levels to lay more stress on forest fire prevention.