China firefighters die as blaze sweeps forest in Sichuan

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At least 24 firefighters have died while tackling a huge forest fire in south-western China, officials say.

Fire crews had been fighting the blaze in the mountains of Sichuan province on Sunday when a change in wind direction caused “a huge fireball”, trapping them, the emergency ministry said.

Contact with 30 firefighters was lost. Twenty-four were later confirmed dead and a search is continuing for the others, authorities said.

The blaze broke out on Saturday.

About 700 firefighters have been trying to control the flames in a remote area of Muli county, state media reported.

A separate forest fire in the northern province of Shanxi was brought under control on Sunday after burning for two days, the official Xinhua news agency said.

No casualties were reported from that fire, but at least 9,000 people were evacuated from their homes.



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