30 confirmed dead in southwest China forest fire

Cheryl Sanders
April 4, 2019

At least 30 people, including 27 firefighters, were killed while battling a huge forest fire in the remote mountains in southwest China's Sichuan province, the state media reported on Monday.

By Sunday afternoon, authorities had sent almost 700 firefighters to put out the fire, but 30 of them went missing after a surge of flames fed by a sudden shift in the wind, state media said.

About 690 people had been dispatched to put out the fire in Muli county, which started on Saturday evening, the local authority said.

Firefighters have contained a blaze high in the rugged forested mountains of western China that claimed the lives of 30 of their colleagues. The firefighters were engulfed by a "huge fireball", Chinese state media reported.

China's National Meteorological Center has warned warmer temperatures and lower precipitation compared with previous years have raised the risk of forest fires in the north of the country, Xinhua said.

The death toll appeared to be the worst among firefighters since 2015, when an explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port of Tianjin killed 173 people, a lot of them firefighters and other first responders.

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