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Hong Kong mountain fire rages on
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Fire fighters were still battling a fire near Hong Kong's Tuen Mun today, more than 10 hours after it broke out yesterday afternoon.

A 300 to 400-meter fire belt extends southwest from Por Lo Mountain in Tuen Mun, a satellite city of the New Territories, Xinhua news agency reported.

The fire is set as a third level alarm, the highest local standard.

About 200 hectares of the forest were on fire, but some of the fire regions were under control, Xinhua said.

The Hong Kong Fire Services Department has sent 28 fire engines, an ambulance, several helicopters and more than 140 fire fighters to help put out the fire. They were hampered by strong winds, dry weather and heavy undergrowth.

More than 200 local villagers, including several monks in the temple on the mountain, were evacuated yesterday. The fire fighters rescued about 30 local people trapped on the mountain.

Xinhua said most of them are returning to their residences today. No injuries were reported.

Also, about 10 hikers were caught in the fire on the New Year's Day. Four were rescued by helicopters, China News Service quoted Hong Kong media as saying.

Hong Kong had 13 mountain fire reports on New Year's Day, most of which were caused by embers left by tourists.

A fire burned more than 600 hectares of forest in the second biggest forest park in Hong Kong -- Tai Lam Country Park, also near Tuen Mun -- in November 2006. It was the biggest forest fire in a decade.

(Shanghai Daily January 2, 2008)


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