Yunnan forest fire burns to outskirts of Kunming

Yunnan forest fire burns to outskirts of Kunming

20 March 2012

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China — A forest fire burning out of control is requiring the full resources of southwestern China’s Yunnan Province after spreading to the outskirts of the province’s capital, Kunming, yesterday.

More than 530 firefighters and officials have been dispatched to the front.

A helicopter from the nearby city of Dali, as well as an additional 500 firefighters, have been mobilized to the site of the blaze, bringing the total number of firefighters on the ground to more than 1,000.

Heavy winds, low humidity and lots of flammables in the drought-ridden forest are making the blaze difficult to fight, according to forest fire department officials in Kunming. The fire has swept through an area of over 1,000 mu (66.67 hectares). No casualty was reported.

The fire was reported at 5:25pm on Sunday in a county of Yimen, Yuxi City, and spread quickly to the north. The fire was still spreading through the mountainous forests of Yimen County as of 4:30 pm yesterday, said a spokesman with the provincial forest fire prevention headquarters.

It was the second forest fire in Yuxi in five weeks. On February 14, a blaze in hilly Hongta District of Yuxi took two days and thousands of firefighters to control. More than 600 mu of area was destroyed.

The province has suffered months of heavy drought, so much of the land is tinder dry for forest fires. More than three million people and 1.5 million livestock were suffering water shortages last month, previous reports said.

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