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960 working to extinguish Yunnan forest fire

(Xinhua)

13:25, March 23, 2012

KUNMING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 1,000 people have been working to put out a fire that was detected on Thursday in southwest China's Yunnan province, local authorities said Friday.

The blaze was discovered at 5:20 p.m. Thursday in Kunyang township, Jinning county in the provincial capital of Kunming, said a spokesman with the city's forest fire control headquarters.

No casualties have been reported but it is not yet known how great an area the fire has swept through, the spokesman added.

By 9 a.m. Friday, 960 people and five excavator vehicles have been mobilized to set up fire barriers, he said.

This is the second forest fire to have hit the province within one week.

On March 18, fire broke out in the forests of Yimen county in the city of Yuxi, and then spread to Anning, a county-level city on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Kunming. The flames, triggered by a discarded cigarette, rekindled Thursday morning after being extinguished one day earlier. The fire is now under control.

Severe drought has lingered in Yunnan for three consecutive years, causing water shortages for several million residents and posing fire risks.

Yunnan is China's second most heavily forested province, with trees covering 47 percent of its land mass.

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