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Deadly Forest Fire in Southwestern China

Firefighters work on extinguishing a forest fire that started near Xichang in Liangshan prefecture of Sichuan province, China March 31, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

About 1,200 residents have been evacuated from the area.

Officials in southwestern China say at least 19 people have been killed while fighting a raging forest fire.

A huge wall of flames could be seen in the mountains surrounding the city of Xichang in Sichuan province. Authorities say the fire began Monday on a farm and quickly spread due to high winds. The fatalities include a forestry guide and 18 firefighters.

As many as 2,000 firefighters and other emergency personnel, along with more than 140 fire engines and other equipment, have been deployed to battle the fire, which is threatening a nearby town and a chemical storage facility. About 1,200 residents have been evacuated from the area.

The fire in Sichuan province comes nearly a year after 27 firefighters were killed battling a forest in the same area.