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China New Year fireworks spark 839 fires

Feb. 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Fireworks set off during weekend Lunar New Year's festivities in China resulted in 839 fires across the country, government officials said.

The Ministry of Public Security also said Sunday there were 25 injuries and 83 fire-related emergencies, which was down significantly from last year.

The Lunar New Year is customarily rung in with a bang, with huge amounts of firecrackers set off to chase away any evil spirits trying to horn in.

Chinese officials were out in force at the height of the celebrations to keep an eye on more than 130,000 areas that had been labeled as fire prone, China's Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua also noted firecracker sales were down in Beijing as many residents decided to cut back on the gunpowder smoke in order to prevent additional air pollution.

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