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Artificial Rain to Help Put Out Fire in Gansu
The meteorological department in Northwest China's Gansu Province will launch artificial rainfall Friday and Saturday to help extinguish the big fire that hit this arid province on Tuesday.

A natural tree nursery in the province's Gannan Tibet Autonomous Prefecture caught fire on Tuesday at around noon.

The fire threatened the lives and property of 420 residents in three nearby villages, China News Service reported Thursday.

The provincial meteorological observatory predicted that the fire-stricken area would experience wind of force 4 to 5 and continuous rainfall from Thursday to Friday.

The observatory will add artificial rain to the natural rain to help put out the fire.

It will also monitor the weather in the fire-hit area round the clock.

Preliminary statistics indicate that 1,148 cattle have been killed or are missing and 13 houses in adjacent grazing land have been burnt. But no people have been reported injured or dead, the news agency said yesterday.

Local sources said the fire was probably caused by a short circuit in a high-voltage wire linking two villages. The details were still being investigated Thursday.

Some 2,900 people have taken part in helping put out the fire.

The State Forestry Administration has called on the relevant departments to collaborate in putting out the fire as soon as possible.

The administration gave no details on to what extent the fire has been extinguished.

Relatively poor transport conditions in the landlocked tree nursery have made the work of putting out the fire more difficult, the news agency reported.

(China Daily April 18, 2003)

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