Forest fires rage in northeast China

Forest fires rage in northeast China

8 April 2008

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China — At least five forest fires are currently raging through China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the local authority said here on Tuesday.

The fires have been burning for about three days in five separate locations that are under the administration of the state-owned Inner Mongolia Forestry Industrial Co. Ltd. in the Greater Higgnan Mountains in the country’s northeast.

The fires were concentrated in an area of about 23.8 square kilometers but may deteriorate in the next three days, according to statistics from meteorological satellites.

Nearly 2,300 people are fighting the fires.

An investigation into the cause is now underway.

The latest round of fires were reported after 130 firefighters extinguished another blaze in the same mountainous area on Friday night.

An initial investigations indicated that fire was started by villagers who were burning grassy areas to open up new fields.

A Tibetan-inhabited prefecture in Yunnan Province in the country’s southwest also reported a forest fire that had gone unchecked since Sunday.

The fire began at 5:15 p.m. near Luoji Village in Shangrila County of the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Deqen. More than 1,000 people, including police, firefighters and villagers were battling the blaze.

The cause was still being investigated.

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