Two thousand people help bring forest fire near Lijiang under control

Two thousand people help bring forest fire near Lijiang under control

02 March 2011

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China — A forest fire near the historic town of Lijiang in Yunnan Province was under control Tuesday morning, 24 hours after it erupted, a local official said. There were no casualties.

The fire, which started Sunday at about 5 am on a hill in Huangshan township, Yulong Nakhi Autonomous County, destroyed 25 hectares of forested land by 5 am Tuesday. The size is about 40 standard football courts, Zhang Wenyin, a Lijiang government spokesman, told the Global Times.

Authorities in Lijiang and Yulong established a special task force to investigate the cause of the fire, Zhang said, adding that the economic loss was still being calculated.

Lijiang, a popular tourist attraction, is about 10 kilometers from the scene.

Photos of the fire were popular on microblogs Sunday night and some raised concerns that the fire could reach the old town in Lijiang.

“From the corridor of my office in Lijiang, I can see thick smoke blowing and flames rising straight into the sky,” a local resident wrote on a sina microblog.

Zhang said that the ancient town was not affected.

Zhang said reports that the fire burned parts of a power transmission line were not correct.

An official with the Fire Prevention Office of the Yulong Forestry Bureau said that they had to suspend work at one point when strong winds raised the risk of spreading the fire.

Over 2,000 people, including forestry police, firefighters and local residents worked together to battle the blaze.

Zhang said the fire did not cause any ecological damage or forced anyone from staying out of the city.

“Many people choose to go on a tour in Lijiang these days,” a receptionist with the Beijing Youth Travel Service told the Global Times.

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