Seoul forest fire triggers evacuation of over 100 houses
Seoul, Apr 2 (EFE).- A forest fire on a hill situated in the center of the South Korean capital has destroyed over 20 hectares of land and on Sunday forced the evacuation of around 120 houses, even as 100 of personnel were trying to extinguish the blaze.
It has not been established how the fire started, but it was detected a little before noon on the flanks of Seoul’s Mt Ingwang, an enclave situated very close to the former residence of the South Korean president and a popular trekking spot.
Soon after, the authorities issued a mobile phone alert urging trekkers in the area to abandon the hill.
The blaze has already burned down at least 23 hectares of land, and by 5 pm, at least 2,458 officials and 15 helicopters had been mobilized to try and contain the blaze, with no casualties reported so far according to local news agency Yonhap.
Unusually high temperatures for this time of the year – Seoul witnessed a maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius on Sunday – and a prolonged dry spell in South Korea could be behind the year’s first wildfires in the country.
Authorities reported another fire on Sunday on a hill near the city of Hongseong, around 114 kms south of Seoul.
President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the national firefighters’ service and the forest service to use all means at their disposal to put out the fires, including the support of the interior and defense ministries. EFE