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The World

May 20, 1987

Firefighters lost their battle to keep apart two massive forest fires in China's remote northeast, where 191 people have been killed and 50,000 left homeless since the blazes began two weeks ago. China's national radio said the east and west fire zones of Daxinganling, near the Soviet border, have swept through virgin forest to merge into one, despite firefighting efforts by 37,000 troops, firemen and civilian volunteers. More than 1,235,000 acres of China's largest natural forest have been affected. Early official reports said the flames had been sparked by a bush-cutting machine May 5, but later reports said the cause was not known.

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