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Forest fire engulfs drought stricken Zayul

(TibetanReview.net, Feb 21, 2009) — Fire was raging in a mountain forest at an Tibet-India border region in Zayul County of Nyingtri Prefecture, with about 320 police, soldiers, government officials and local residents struggling to put it out, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 20. No casualties have been reported so far. Difficult terrain and thick smoke were reported to be making it difficult for fire-fighters to get close to the scene.

The report cited the county party secretary Peng Cong’en as saying the fire started at about 8:50 am on Feb 19 on the Indian side of the mountain, apparently when people burned wild grass and bushes.

Much of Tibet Autonomous Region had been under severe drought since Jan’09 and the Zayul fire occurred on the day the China Forest Fire Management (CFFM) issued a three-day alert against such a danger along the Southwestern region of the PRC, covering Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, along with the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Another Xinhua report Feb 20 said that as of Feb 15, a total of 67 forest fires had been recorded in Yunnan Province by the provincial forestry administration.

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