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Forest fires put out in NE China
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The forest fires that had been raging in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for nearly five days were finally extinguished on Wednesday with the help of 3,900 firefighters and cloud-seeding efforts, the local meteorological authority said.

Meteorological staff had shot 42 cannons in 20 operations since Tuesday morning to induce heavy snowfall with precipitation of up to 9 millimeters on the burning woods in the Greater Higgnan Mountains in the country's northeast.

The fires, which engulfed an area of about 23.8 square kilometers, were reported after 130 firefighters had extinguished another blaze in the same area on Friday. That fire was started by villagers burning grassy areas to open up new fields.

A forest fire in Shangri-la, a Tibetan-inhabited prefecture in Yunnan Province in the country's southwest, had been brought under control since it erupted late on Sunday.

The fire's movement was stopped about 10 kilometers away before it reached Potatso Park, the country's first national park that boasts diverse scenery, including crystal-clear lakes, mountains and gurgling streams.

However, 187 hectares of forested land were hit by the blaze, which was caused by improper use of fire by villagers in the wild, according to a police investigation.

More than 1,000 people were involved in the firefighting campaign.

(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2008)

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