FILE - Forest policemen put out the remains of a fire at a mountainous Tibetan region in Daofu county, Sichuan Province. Dec. 6, 2010. (Reuters/China Daily)
FILE - Forest policemen put out the remains of a fire at a mountainous Tibetan region in Daofu county, Sichuan Province. Dec. 6, 2010. (Reuters/China Daily)

Firefighters are struggling to douse a forest fire that broke out in the mountains of southwestern China at the weekend, killing at least 26 firefighters, with four missing, state media said on Monday.

The fire broke out on Saturday in the Muli county of Sichuan province, perched at an altitude of more than 4,000 m. (13,000 ft), with poor transport and communication links.

By Sunday afternoon, authorities had sent nearly 700 firefighters to put out the fire, but 30 went missing after a surge of flames fed by a sudden shift in the wind, the People's Daily newspaper said.

The bodies of the dead firefighters have been retrieved, it added.