A forest fire in a sparsely populated area 75km north of Tokyo continued to rage for a sixth day on Saturday (27 February), as local officials were set to ask dozens more households to evacuate hillside villages.
The fire in the vicinity of Ashikaga city, in Tochigi prefecture, has continued to spread since breaking out Sunday, 21 February, despite efforts by firefighters on the ground and military helicopters dousing the area.
One man suffered burns and was hospitalised, and firefighters have been deployed, said Hitomi Hirokami, an official at Kiryu in Gunma prefecture, about 100km north-west of Tokyo. The fire has burnt about 100 hectares so far and burnt down a mountain temple, according to the prefecture.
About 15 villages had been evacuated in total as of late Thursday, the prefecture said. Broadcaster NHK reported on Friday that evacuation warnings will be expanded to cover more households.
Three evacuation centres were set up with social distancing measures and disinfectants and everyone is wearing masks, Takayama said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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