Wildfire in South Korea triggers mass evacuation

World Saturday 05/March/2022 15:07 PM
By: DW
Wildfire in South Korea triggers mass evacuation

Seoul: Thousands of South Korean firefighters and troops on Saturday worked to put out a large wildfire that has spread across more than 6,000 hectares (almost 15,000 acres) since breaking out on a mountain on the country's eastern coast.

The fire threatened at one stage to reach a nuclear power plant and South Korea's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) production complex, but firefighters brought the blaze under control before it reached the facilities, according to officials cited by Yonhap news agency.

At least 159 homes and 46 other buildings have been destroyed, and some 6,200 people have been evacuated from the affected region, according to The Associated Press.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

The fire began on Friday morning on a mountain in the coastal town of Uljin, about 330 kilometers (205 miles) southeast of the capital, Seoul, and was then driven by winds northward to the nearby city of Samcheok.

The fire prompted President Moon Jae-in to issue an alarm on Friday afternoon as flames reached the surroundings of the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin.

The alarm was lifted after firefighters successfully prevented the blaze from spreading to the facility.

The cause of the fire, which grew rapidly in strong winds and dry conditions, is being investigated by officials, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.

Yonhap cited KFS chief Choi Byeong-am as saying that firefighters aimed "to bring all flames under control by sunset."