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Mountain fire scorches 40 hectares

Mar 29,2018
A brush fire on a mountain in eastern Gangwon spread Wednesday to other areas along the coast, whipped up by strong winds. More than 40 hectares of land was affected as of 6 p.m.

The fire, which started on a mountain in Goseong County, Gangwon, 200 kilometers (124.2 miles) east of Seoul, quickly spread east to other mountainous areas with winds blowing 7.1 meters per second (13.8 knots), hampering firefighters’ efforts to put out the fire.

40 hectares of forest was burned and eight buildings were destroyed, according to the authorities. No casualties had been reported as of press time. The authorities mobilized 2,300 firefighters to contain the fire with 39 helicopters spraying water onto the burning areas.

“There is a high possibility of forest fires due to a prolonged dry season with strong winds,” said a forest service official. “The fire is rapidly expanding with winds blowing to the east. All related government agencies are doing their best to contain the fire for the safety of residents,” the official continued.

The Korea Forest Service said it extinguished 70 percent of the fire as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. It said it sent evacuation text messages to 455 residents in the area in the morning, who evacuated to a nearby elementary school.

“When I woke up and went outside, there was a wall of fire with heavy smoke on the mountain,” said Lee Ha-myung, a Goseong resident.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, PARK JIN-HO [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]