About 100 Die in China Forest Fire

Associated Press

An estimated 100 people were reported dead in a massive forest fire that had been raging in northeast China since Wednesday afternoon, the official New China News Agency said Friday.

Aircraft have dropped 440 tons of food and clothing to the affected area in Mohe County, Heilongjiang province, the agency said

By Friday evening, the fire had blackened 2,000 square miles. Satellite pictures indicated that the fire's path was more than 62 miles long and 25 miles wide, the news service added.

Fire broke out simultaneously in four areas Wednesday afternoon and spread rapidly due to high winds. Its cause is still unknown, the report said.

Flames destroyed most of Xilinji, a town of 20,000, and phone lines, highways and railway lines to the region were cut, the report said.

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