The forest fires continue to spread in China’s northeast as firefighters today battled to contain a new wildfire which erupted in Heilongjiang province, the main timber producing area of the country.

The new blaze in Greater Hinggan Mountains in Heilongjiang province has spread to an area of five square kilometres, said Sun Xiguo, director of the fire control headquarters of Greater Hinggan Mountains.

The forest fires which started on Saturday afternoon in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region later spread to Heilongjiang, engulfing an area of 13 square km till yesterday, Mr. Sun said.

More than 7,000 people from Heilongjiang and another 3,000 from Inner Mongolia have been battling the fires.

The ground temperature, as 50 degrees Celsius, coupled with a wind speed of 20 km/h made battling the blazes extremely difficult, he said.

The air temperature had been at record high, more than 38 degrees Celsius since mid June, and there had been no rain for more than 10 days, Guo Weiyan, a forest policeman of Inner Mongolia said.

The dry hot weather will continue for the next three days, according to the Central Meteorological Bureau, official Xinhua news agency reported.

The Greater Hinggan Mountains is a timber producing base in China, where more than 80,000 square kilometres are covered by mainly pine forests.

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