Firefighters continue to battle SW China forest fire
More than 3,800 firefighters are battling the forest fire in southwest China's Sichuan Province, as winds stoked the flames on Wednesday evening, local authorities said.
The burning area in one frontline zone increased from 1.5 km long at 3pm on Wednesday to 5 km long at 7:10pm on Wednesday due to strong winds. The nearest fire was some 10 km from downtown area of the city of Xichang.
As of Wednesday noon, open flames in three major areas affected by the fire in the mountains in Xichang had been put out, before firefighters turned to search for smoke points and clear embers.
The fire started on a local farm on Monday afternoon and quickly spread to nearby mountains due to strong winds, according to the government of Xichang. On Tuesday, 19 people, including 18 firefighters and a local forest farm worker who led the way for the firefighters, died while battling the fire.
By 9am on Wednesday, a total of 24,467 people in Xichang had been evacuated.