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China puts out 10-day-old forest blaze

Written by: Staff

Beijing, Apr 7: Thousands of Chinese firefighters helped by artificial rain have put out a forest blaze which raged across more than 1,000 hectares in the mountainous southwest, state media said today.

Three villagers were injured and about 800 local residents were forced to evacuate after the fire broke out last Wednesday just a few km from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province.

''All flames were out by 11 this morning,'' state television said today, adding more than 6,000 firefighters and troops were still at the scene today to make sure the fire did not restart.

Steady drizzle created by artificial seeding of clouds had helped extinguish the flames, the China Daily said, quoting a release from the State Forestry Administration.

The administration also revealed dismissals, demotions and other disciplinary action against officials blamed for six forest fires over the past year, the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said.

Seven suspects accused of starting fires, in some case accidentally, had also been arrested, the People's Daily said.

The Yunnan fire follows five blazes in the northern provinces of Shanxi and Hebei in late March which killed at least four people.

China's State Council, or cabinet, issued an urgent notice on Tuesday ordering provinces in the north, northeast and southwest -- which have seen little rain this spring -- to be on high alert against fire.


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