One dead, homes lost in S.Korea bushfire

The fire quickly spread throughout the region of Goseong, South Korea, fanned by strong winds.
The fire quickly spread throughout the region of Goseong, South Korea, fanned by strong winds.

Firefighters extinguished much of a bushfire burning on South Korea's mountainous northern coast after the blaze destroyed 120 homes and forced more than 3500 to flee.

One person was killed in the fire and another fatally struck by an object blown over by the high winds in the region that hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The fire likely started Thursday night from a transformer spark near a resort in the town of Goseong and then spread to the mountains, according to Gangwon fire captain Choi Jin-ho.

Videos posted to social media in South Korea showed tall flames rising from large areas of forest, the air filled with embers and debris as cars drove by the raging fire.

News photos showed a burnt-out bus, fire engulfing a hill, and residents evacuating apartment complexes and filing into gyms.

Choi said nearly 2400 people in Goseong and almost 1250 in the city of Sokcho were evacuated.

Authorities said a 60-year-old man died in the fire, and a woman in her 70s died after being hit by wide-angled road mirror that fell in the strong winds.

About 120 homes and hundred of hectares of forest were destroyed by the fire, according to authorities.

About 20 firefighting helicopters and 5600 firefighting personnel were deployed to fight the fire, which also caused a highway shutdown and train delays.

At least 11 people were being treated for injuries, according to one official.

The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he called for all available resources to be deployed.

Fire brigades from all major surrounding regions including Seoul were reportedly ordered to send trucks to help fight the blaze.

The fire has not threatened the Olympic sports facilities.

Australian Associated Press