A fire has broken out at one of India's largest chili markets, burning hundreds of thousands of pounds of chili peppers and covering the nearby area with a cloud of stinging smoke.

Firefighters were still battling the blaze hours after it broke out Saturday morning. Officials have evacuated neighbors of the market in Guntur in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Residents and officials say the burning chili smoke has stung the eyes and throats of people across the city.

"People are coughing uncontrollably," says farmer Y. Venkateshwarulu.

Local official Kanna Lakshminarayana says 150,000 bags of chilies have been destroyed across a 50-acre area.

No causalities have been reported. It remains unclear what started the fire.