China: 18 firefighters killed while fighting forest fire in Sichuan province

The fire has spread over 15 acres and was directly threatening safety of Xichang city


One forestry guide and 18 firefighters lost their lives while fighting a huge forest fire in the Sichuan province of South China. According to the local fire department, authorities had dispatched over 2,000 people to put out the forest fire that started on Saturday evening. Besides the 19 people who lost their lives, another farm worker has gone missing. 

As per government sources, the fire was “directly threatening the safety of Xichang city”. More than 1,200 locals were evacuated.

The fire, that started at a local farm, spread quickly, to the nearby forest, due to strong winds in the area. It was initially spread over 15 hectares, but now has affected upto 1,000 hectares, reads a BBC report. 

One hundred and forty fire engines, four helicopters and 900 additional personnel were sent to tackle the blaze. The helicopters were still battling the blaze. The fire's progress is being tracked using drones and six remote water supply systems along with 142 fire engines are being brought in to fight the fire.

According to Xinhua, the state’s local news agency, several forest fires have broken out in the same prefecture in recent days.

About a year ago, a forest fire in another part of the Lianghsan prefecture killed 30 firefighters.

As a result of climate change and habitat destruction, China has seen numerous deadly forest fires. 

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