China — Cigarettes left behind by three students caused a forest fire that killed a fire official in southwest China, local police said Friday.
The blaze started Monday afternoon in Sanjia Village, Jinning County, which is about 60 km from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. It took more than 1,000 firefighters and police 14 hours to put out the fire.
Police said three students from a neighboring village, one aged 12 and the others aged 13, smoked in the forest and left burning butts behind. The butts ignited dried grass and triggered the fire.
The county’s politics and law committee said the students would not be punished but their parents might face punishment.
The fire covered more than 130 ha, but no homes or crops were burned.
Li Kunpeng, 37, director of the fire prevention office of the county’s forestry bureau, died while fighting the blaze.