The South Korean government yesterday declared a state of national disaster over the massive blaze that engulfed five cities and counties along the northeastern coast. One person died after being hit by a falling object and 11 were wounded in the blaze. Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate overnight.
According to Choi Jin-ho, a fire captain at Gangwon Fire Headquarters in Seoul, the fire likely started on Thursday night from a transformer spark near a resort in the town of Goseong and spread to the nearby mountains. Affected by strong wind, the flame rapidly spread to nearby mountainous regions including the Inje county and the cities of Sokcho, Donghae and Gangneung in Gangwon province.
Hundreds of firetrucks have been mobilised from across the country, with around 10,000 personnel, including firefighters, civil servants, the military and police, gathered from across the nation for the firefighting and rescue operations.