A major fire has destroyed large parts of an ancient town in southwest China that is popular with tourists because of its mythical and harmonious appearance.
The ancient Tibetan town of Dukezong in the Yunnan province transformed into an inferno after a fire blazed quickly out of control through the town's wooden houses. (Via Sky News)
Hundreds of firefighters, soldiers and volunteers rushed to extinguish the blaze, which local news agencies say was mostly under control by early Saturday morning. (Via CTV)
Amazingly, there have been no reports of death or injury thus far. However, the fire is reported to have engulfed hundreds of homes in the area.
Dealing a heavy blow to the town, which has about about 3,000 permanent residents and is a popular draw for both Chinese and foreign tourists because of its picturesque wooden buildings and narrow, cobbled streets. (Via YouTube / bernardchannel)
The New York Times reports several fires have broken out in Tibetan areas of China in recent months, including one at a monastery just last week.
"The largely wooden buildings can be especially vulnerable in dry winter months, when candles and wood-fired heaters are heavily used."
Officials are still investigating what might have started the fire.