Beijing: Eighteen firefighters and one farm worker died while fighting a massive forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, state-run media reported on Tuesday. Also Read - Coronavirus: 'World Economy Staring at Recession; India, China Likely Exceptions,' Says UN

The fire started on a local farm at 3.51 PM on Monday and quickly spread to the nearby mountains due to the strong winds, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Also Read - China Building Makeshift Hospital For Pakistan to Treat Coronavirus Patients

Those killed include 18 firefighters and a local forest farm worker who led the way for the firefighters. They were trapped in the fire due to a sudden change in the wind direction, the report said. Also Read - Coronavirus Outbreak: A Shrimp Seller in China Identified as 'Patient Zero'

Over 300 professional firefighters and 700 militiamen were sent to help, the report said, adding that the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Meanwhile, another fire that broke out in China’s Yunnan province on Sunday has been put out, authorities were quoted as saying by a separate report.

The open flames have all been put out as of 11.34 PM on Monday, according to the county government of Nanjian under Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon, spreading over 90 hectares.

More than 1,800 people were sent to fight the fire. Twelve fire engines and three helicopters were also mobilised.

No casualties were reported. Further investigation into the cause of the fire is underway. Almost a year ago in the same Sichuan province, at least 30 people, including 27 firefighters were killed while battling a huge forest fire in the remote mountains in the province.