At least 44 homes were destroyed and more than 300 residents evacuated to facilities that included an ice-skating arena and a middle school gym. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths, according to the ministry.
It wasn’t immediate clear how long it would take firefighters to bring the flames under control as the high winds made it difficult to deploy aircraft. Kim during a televised briefing said firefighters are establishing barriers while focusing on preventing the fire from spreading to more populated areas of Gangneung.
Photos showed firefighters spraying water toward burning homes and buildings and large, orange flames engulfing a pine forest near a seaside resort hotel.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed officials to deploy “all available equipment and personnel” to swiftly extinguish the wildfire and evacuate residents to prevent the loss of life.