Disasters & Accidents

South Korean wildfires now worst in country’s history

Seoul, Mar 11 (EFE).- Wildfires burning the eastern coastal mountain areas of South Korea for the past week have become the worst in the country’s history, with almost 24,000 hectares razed, the government said Friday.

The fire that started in the town of Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, last Friday and has spread to neighboring municipalities remains active for the eighth day.

It is estimated that some 23,993 hectares of forest (equivalent to about 33,000 soccer fields) have burned since then, which is the worst on record, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

This means the fires are already worse than that of 2000, which in nine days burned 23,794 hectares in the same region and which was to date the most devastating since record-keeping began in 1986.

More than 1,600 personnel and 372 fire engines are trying to douse the flames, and 88 helicopters are expected to join Friday’s operations.

The town of Uljin, where the fires began and which has more than 18,000 hectares burned, is the most affected, followed by others such as Samcheok, Gangneung and Donghae.

There have been no reported deaths but almost 650 buildings, including 358 houses, have been damaged and some 390 people remain evacuated. EFE


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