Grassland Fire Extinguished after 22 Killed in Southwestern China

Firefighters have extinguished a grassland blaze in a remote mountainous region in southwest China that killed at least 22 people and injured another four, state media said Monday.

The wild fire broke out in Daofu County in Sichuan province -- at the edge of the Tibetan plateau -- at about noon Sunday and was initially brought under control three hours later, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Gusts of wind however fanned the flames and the spreading blaze trapped soldiers and local residents battling to extinguish the fire in the remote valley.

Two of the injured are "critically ill,” Xinhua said, citing a local health official.

Firefighters equipped with extinguishers were able to finally put out the blaze, which covered about 50 hectares (125 acres), by noon on Monday after the strong winds eased.

About 2,000 people turned out to join firefighting efforts, while an emergency medical team was mobilized from the provincial capital Chengdu.

The dead were 15 soldiers, five civilians and two workers with the grassland administration. Provincial governor Jiang Jufeng ordered an investigation into the cause of the blaze.(AFP)

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