The blaze posed a threat to residents in Discovery Bay Raging hill fires on Lantau Island that at one point threatened residents in Discovery Bay were finally put out at 4am yesterday after a 40-hour battle. The fire had covered an area of more than 5 sq km, including Discovery Bay, Cheung Tung Road, Yam O, Lo Fu Tau and Penny's Bay. Kwok Jing-keung, deputy director of the Fire Services Department, said the flames had not threatened the Disneyland site. He said that there had always been a considerable distance between Disneyland and the hill fires. Eighteen water jets, more than 100 firefighters and 120 members of the Civil Aid Services tackled the blaze, and five Government Flying Service helicopters dropped water on the flames and ferried firefighters to hill sites. The Fire Services Department was alerted at 11.15am on Friday. Ng Lap-fun, division commander (marine and offshore island division), said firefighters arrived at the site three minutes later. But strong winds and the hilly terrain hampered their efforts to put out the fire. Discovery Bay resident Rick Cumes, who was a DJ at a party on Friday night, said that the dance floor went dead when the crowd saw the fire. 'People stopped dancing and stared at the blaze. The mountain was glowing. It was frightening,' he said. 'A lot of people left Discovery Bay and went to the Hong Kong side.' At one stage, about 60 Discovery Bay residents were evacuated when their homes were threatened. Ng Cho-nam, associate professor at the department of geography at the University of Hong Kong, said that it would take up to 10 years for the burnt area to grow back to its original form. 'Hill fires have always been the greatest obstacle to the natural succession of plants in Hong Kong,' Professor Ng said. 'Now that the area is burnt and exposed to erosion, it will take at least five to 10 years for it to grow back, but only provided that there's no hill fire again.' He said that the government should encourage the public to be more aware about hill-fire prevention. Since October 1, 889 hill fires have been reported, a dramatic increase compared with 564 for the same period last year. The average humidity in October was 64 per cent, lower than the 71 per cent in the previous October. Last year, there were 1,678 hill fires.