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15 Chinese soldiers among 22 killed in wild fire in Tibet

December 6, 2010

Beijing, Sunday, Dec 5, 2010 (PTI) - A massive wild fire in Tibet's
mountainous Sichuan province today killed at least 22 people,
including 15 Chinese soldiers during rescue operation, officials said.

Of the 22 killed, 15 were soldiers, two workers with the grassland
administration while five others were local civilians, officials said.

Three others who sustained sever burn injuries were rushed to the
hospitals, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The grassland fire, which spread fast, proved deadly when it trapped
soldiers and local residents trying to put out the blaze. This is one
of the highest casualties China's People's Liberation Army suffered in
recent times.

The wild fire was raging through a grassland atop a plateau in Daofu
county, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, Sichuan province.

Daofu sits in a forest-covered area at the eastern edge of
Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It has a population of 45,000, about 89% of
whom are ethnic Tibetans.

About 500 mu (33.3 hectares) of the grassland has burned, while 200 mu
(13 hectares) is still on fire, officials said.

The fire broke out at noon and was brought under control at about 3
pm. However, gusting winds reignited the flames and trapped people
fighting the fire, officials said.
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