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Korea puts out worst wildfire in years

 
The authorities have finally extinguished the wildfires on South Korea's east coast after a three-day battle.
Those fires destroyed at least 300 homes and buildings -- by area, burning more than 500 hectares.
 
Our Won Jung-hwan is in Gangwon-do with the latest.
 
All of the wildfires in Gangwon-do Province have been completely put out as of noon on Saturday.
In the place where they first started, Goseong County, the flames were extinguished yesterday, as were the fires in the city of Gangneung.
 
The only ones left today were in Inje -- still 15 percent as of this morning -- but now those are out too.
Firefighters had to wait overnight, hoping that high winds wouldn't spread the flames, but luckily, the winds were low.
And in the daytime today, they were able to deploy their helicopters to this hilly and mountainous terrain.
 
According to the Korea Forest Service this afternoon, they finished the job with the help of 14 helicopters and 600 firefighters and military personnel.
 
Now... there are other things to take care of.
Most important is to help the people who've been affected.
 
There are still more than a hundred people staying in provisional shelters across Gangwon-do province... being tended to by volunteers and companies who've sent supplies.
 
The government has been ordered to pay special attention to those who lost their homes... with support like daily necessities, medical treatment and psychological counseling if necessary.
 
korea puts out worst wildfire in ages
 
But it seems some will need help in the long term too.
"It is uncomfortable to live in the shelter. I need to go my farm and work, but I don't know how much support I'll get in terms of benefits to help me with this loss. I don't think we'll have a good harvest this year."
 
And when asked about the plans laid out by the government,… some are worried about where they'll live.
"There's an apartment the government has given us to stay in for a while until we have somewhere else. But the problem is it doesn't have an elevator, and I'm too old and weak to walk up the stairs. So I asked for a shipping container to stay in. But it'll take two months for them to renovate the container into a living space."
 
The authorities also need to investigate the cause of the fire.
In Goseong, witnesses said they saw and heard an explosion from a telephone pole, but the Korea Electric Power Corporation said the switch on the pole was unlikely to explode on its own.
 
They suspect a spark from exposed wires might have ignited dust in the dry air.

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