BFF-34 26 firefighters die battling China forest fire

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26 firefighters die battling China forest fire

BEIJING, April 1, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – At least 26 firefighters died after
they were sent to tackle a forest blaze in remote mountains in southwest
China’s Sichuan province at the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to battle the fire, which broke out
on Saturday evening on steep terrain at an altitude of around 4,000 metres
(13,000 feet) in Muli County, according to the ministry of emergency
management.

Authorities lost contact with 30 firefighters on Sunday afternoon after a
sudden change in wind direction ignited a “huge fireball”, the ministry said
in a statement.

Rescuers have found 26 bodies and are looking for the other missing crew.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang delivered instructions to
respond to the emergency, the statement said.

A separate forest fire that lasted two days in the northern province of
Shanxi was brought under control on Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency
said.

More than 9,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to that blaze,
which did not cause any casualties.

BSS/AFP/FI/ 1550 hrs