Grassland Fire in China Kills 22

In Asia, Drought & Fires, News Headlines

A grassland fire in a mountainous Tibetan region in south-west China has killed at least 22 people and severely burned another three, state media said.

The spreading blaze trapped soldiers and local residents trying to put out the fire in the remote area, the Xinhua news agency said, quoting unnamed government officials.

The wild fire broke out in Daofu County in Sichuan province – at the edge of the Tibetan plateau – about noon on Sunday (local time).

It was under control three hours later.

But gusts of wind made the flames worse again and by Sunday evening an area of over 33 hectares had been burned, while another 13 hectares remained on fire, local firefighters told Xinhua.

About 2,000 people turned out to join firefighting efforts, while an emergency medical team was mobilised from the provincial capital, Chengdu.

Among the dead were 15 soldiers, five civilians and two workers with the grassland administration.

Provincial governor Jiang Jufeng has ordered an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

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