March 23, 2015 / 7:38 AM / in 3 years

Wild fire spreads from North Korea to South, border passages closed: officials

SEOUL (Reuters) - Strong winds swept a wild fire in North Korea across the heavily armed border with South Korea on Monday, prompting a suspension of cross-border movements into a jointly-run factory park in the North.

About 50 firefighters and three helicopters were battling the fire on the south side of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border, according to an official at the South Korean border town of Paju, adding that there were no reports of casualties.

Access to the area is normally restricted.

An official at the South’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said that due to the fire South Korean workers were restricted from going in and out of Kaesong factory park, which lies in the North just over the border.

In the latest spat over the Kaesong complex, a group of South Korean businessmen last week visited the complex to protest North Korea’s decision to increase wages paid to workers there.

The cause of the blaze was not known, and damage estimates were not immediately available.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Kim Coghill

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