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2,500 battling mountain forest fire in SW China

(Xinhua)

12:02, January 27, 2012

KUNMING, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- About 2,500 people are struggling to put out a forest fire near a famous snow mountain in southwest China's Yunnan Province, local authorities said Thursday.

The fire began at the foot of the Dongshan Mountain in Lijiang city at around 10 a.m. Thursday, the city government's press office said in a statement.

It said the fire site is about 5 km from Yulong Snow Mountain, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lijiang.

Some 2,500 fire fighters, police officers, soldiers of the People's Liberation Army and volunteers were still battling the fire, Liu Yanxing, deputy head of the city forest fire headquarters, told Xinhua by phone late Thursday.

Heavy wind has complicated the fire fighting efforts, Liu said.

The fire has been under control on the northern, southern and western fronts, but was still spreading northeastward, he said.

The fire fighting forces will strive to put out the fire on the northeastern front before dawn Friday to prevent it from spreading to the Yulong Snow Mountain, Liu said.

As of 4 p.m., the fire had engulfed 45 hectares of mountain forests. Though the flames had not spread to the tourist destination, authorities had imposed a traffic ban on roads linking Lijiang's city proper to the snow mountain.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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