CHENGDU, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Nineteen people died while battling a forest fire in southwest China's Sichuan Province, local authorities said Tuesday.
The victims include 18 firefighters and a local forest farm worker who led the way for the firefighters. They were trapped in fire due to a sudden change in wind direction at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
The fire started on a local farm at 3:51 p.m. Monday and quickly spread to nearby mountains due to strong winds, according to the information office of the city of Xichang.
Over 300 professional firefighters and 700 militiamen were sent to the rescue on Monday.