A fire broke out Friday in a state-level protected forest in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, local authorities said. No casualties were reported.
The fire began at about 11:20 AM at a residential zone in Genhe City in the northern Greater Hinggan Mountains areas, igniting the timber of a forestry company. It was spreading to a forest nearby, Genhe firefighters said.
Witnesses said the fire covered an area of about 7,000 square meters and engulfed dozens of houses as of 2 PM. Strong winds had made it difficult to control the blaze.
"The fire is spreading, but all the residents nearby have been evacuated," said Yang Haixia, an information official with the fire brigade of Hulun Buir City.
A total of 43 firefighters and seven fire engines arrived at the site 10 minutes after the fire broke out, and more forces from neighboring cities were joining in, officials said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2008)