Lightning strike has been confirmed as the cause of a forest fire that killed 27 firefighters and three locals in southwest China's Sichuan Province, local authorities said Friday.
The provincial forestry and grassland administration cited local police as saying that the lightning igniting the fire was first witnessed and reported by locals in Muli County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture.
After a thorough investigation, police found an 18-meter pine tree as the starting point of the fire.
Police said the lightning tore apart the tree trunk and was transmitted to ignite the humus layer on the ground.
The forest fire broke out on March 30 on top of a remote mountain at an altitude of over 3,700 meters. Local authorities dispatched more than 600 people to put out the blaze.