A forest reserve around Mount Cangshan, a popular scenic spot in
southwest China's Yunnan Province, caught fire on Thursday.
The fire started on a mountain pass behind Jiangfeng Temple
early Thursday and quickly spread over 133 hectares of forested
land, according to Duan Li, Mayor of Dali, in the Bai Autonomous
Prefecture of Dali.
More than 3,000 people have been enlisted to help extinguish the
blaze as Duan fears the fire may spread faster than expected due to
the dry and windy weather conditions.
Local firemen are using every resource available to channel
water into the main fire and villagers are using branches, buckets,
scoops, and hoes to stamp out the smoldering areas around the
Force three to seven winds in the region are hampering the
firefighting efforts as the fire continues to spread.
Tourists in the region should not be affected, since the fire is
20 to 30 kilometers from the ancient city of Dali, said Duan, who
is directing the fire fighting work.
So far, no casualties have been reported.
With an area of nearly 80,000 hectares, the Cangshan and Erhai
National Nature Reserve is one of the most famous scenic spots in
Authorities have now confirmed that the fire was accidentally
started by six schoolboys who were playing with lighters. The boys,
who should have been in school, fled the scene and none were
injured, the spokesman said.
The children are fifth-graders at Longquancun Primary School in
Xiaguan town, of the Bai Autonomous Prefecture of Dali, a spokesman
with the local public security department told Xinhua.
Another forest fire, believed to be arson after an initial
investigation, broke out on Laoqingshan Mountain in the provincial
capital of Kunming at around 10:20 AM on Thursday.
That fire spread over 13.3 hectares of forested land and was put
out at 2:40 PM.
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)