Report: 27 wildland firefighters killed in China

wildfire killed firefighters china
The deadly wildfire in southwestern China. New China photo.

Early reports are that at least 27 firefighters were killed while fighting a wildfire in China on March 31. The BBC said 30 firefighters died, while the China Xinhau News reported it was 27 firefighters and 3 civilians that perished.

(Update 9:15 a.m. MDT April 2: China’s state new agency Xinhua confirmed Tuesday that 27 firefighters and 3 locals lost their lives.)

From the BBC:

Thirty firefighters have died while tackling a huge forest fire in south-western China, officials say.

Fire crews had been battling the blaze in the mountains of Sichuan province on Sunday when a change in wind direction caused “a huge fireball”, trapping them, the emergency ministry said.

Contact with 30 firefighters was lost. All were confirmed dead on Monday and their bodies were retrieved from the mountain, state TV said.

China Xinhua News had different numbers — 30 killed but 27 of those were firefighters.

An earlier report had the number at 26 firefighters:

The New York Times was not specific about how the numbers broke down:

A forest fire in southwestern China turned deadly over the weekend when winds shifted unexpectedly, trapping firefighters and local officials in a maelstrom. The bodies of 30 people who could not escape were found on Monday, officials announced, even as the fire continued to burn out of control.

Among those who died were the chief of a regional forestry bureau in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, and his deputy, state media reported. The officials had traveled to the scene of the fire, which broke out on Saturday in a remote location at altitudes nearing 13,000 feet, and had not been heard from since.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and coworkers of the deceased.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Report: 27 wildland firefighters killed in China”

  1. My wife is from China and says they do not have forest fire fire fighters there in China. They mostly use city fire fighters which have no experience in how to battle wildfires or forest fires like we do here in Canada. Fighting building fires is a totally different animal then a forest fire. It is like have an auto mechanic fixing a jet engine, they are both engines but he has no idea how to repair a jet engine to a automobile engine. This is so sad with each year in China it seems like people are dying due to lack of knowledge of how dangerous these fire are. The government should be stepping in an developing a rigorous fire fighting crews all around China. And local residents should not be partaking in fighting these fires also they are not wearing protective clothing or the right tools etc. If not the Chinese army should step up and get involved in stopping these fires. Maybe the Chinese government could sent a group of professionals to see how we in Canada prepare and fight forest fires with expert and qualified fire fighting men and women. I pray for the 30 families that lost men and women in these fires and my heart goes out to them.
    Milton & Yanyin

    1. I want tell yes china has forest fires fighter, they are called Chinese People’s Armed Police Force Forest Force, for this fire most of the deaths are forest firefighters。


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