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Sunday, December 3, 2023
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S Korean wildfire forces thousands to flee homes

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – Thousands of South Koreans fled their homes yesterday as a large wildfire ripped through an eastern coastal area and temporarily threatened a nuclear power station before being driven away by winds.

As of yesterday evening, some 1,000 firefighters were battling the blaze amid strong winds and focussing their efforts on preventing it from reaching a liquified natural gas facility near the city of Samcheok.

The fire began yesterday morning on a mountain in the nearby county of Uljin and destroyed at least 22 homes and nine other structures, according to officials at the National Fire Agency and the Korea Forest Service.

Nearly 4,000 people fled their houses as the fire spread, but all but 161 had returned as of yesterday evening, National Fire Agency official Lee Jae-hoon said.

The fire reached the perimeter of a seaside nuclear power plant, forcing the operator to reduce operations to 50 per cent.

Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to the plant and kept the blaze under control before winds drove it northward toward Samcheok, another agency official Kang Dae-
hoon said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

A wildfire on a mountain in Samcheok, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

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