9 killed, 7 injured in SW China forest fire

08:29, March 04, 2011      

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At least nine people died and seven were injured while fighting a forest fire in southwest China's Yunnan Province Thursday, provincial fire-fighting authorities reported.

Winds re-ignited a wild fire that had been earlier put out, trapping fire-fighters on a forest-covered mountain slope in Jinhua Township, Jianchuan County Thursday afternoon, said a spokesman with the Yunnan Provincial Forest Fire Prevention Authority.

Seven fire-fighters and two government officials from Jinhua were confirmed dead by authorities. Also, one of the seven injured is listed in critical condition, the spokesman said.

The blaze first started Wednesday afternoon and was initially put out early Thursday morning. However, it again began to spread on Thursday night, prompting authorities to augment the fire-fighting contingent.

A leading official is reported to be rushing to the fire site with a team of forestry, civil affairs, and fire fighting officials.

Authorities demanded a safe and speedy operation to put out the blaze and have ordered a thorough probe into the incident.

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