SHANGRI-LA, Yunnan, Jan. 11 -- A fire that started in the early hours of Saturday in an ancient town in Shangri-la, a resort county in southwest China's Yunnan Province, has been completely put out.
The fire broke out at 1:37 a.m. at the Ruyi Inn in the Dukezong Ancient Town, where most houses are made of wood, a factor which added difficulties to firefighting, said a local government spokesman at a press conference.
Investigators have ruled out the possibility of arson, and further investigation is under way.
Around 2,000 people, including local firefighters, soldiers, police and residents, have participated in the rescue work. Over 2,600 people were evacuated from three neighborhoods of the town. No casualties have been reported.
More than 240 houses were damaged and other 43 houses were dismantled so as to prevent the fire from spreading.
Apart from the houses, shops and infrastructure facilities, the fire also burned some cultural relics, precious Tibetan thangka and other Tibetan art pieces.
The economic loss is being calculated.
As of 6 p.m., Department of Finance of Yunnan Province has allocated a relief fund of 5 million yuan(826,000 U.S. dollars) to help with the relocation of the affected local residents and reconstruction work after the fire.
Local weather forecast departments said snow is expected on Saturday evening to Sunday.
Dukezong, meaning "town of the moon" in Tibetan, was built 1,300 years ago. Known for its well-preserved ancient Tibetan dwellings, it is one of the most renowned resorts in Shangri-la.