Tuen Mun residents and a Civil Aid unit commander said last night they had never seen a hill fire burning so close to Tuen Mun. 'What our colleagues have been doing is chasing the blaze, trying to contain it,' said Sam Tam, a transport unit commander who was leading 50 volunteers last night from Hin Fat Lane, at the edge of Tai Lam Country Park, up a hill to the firefront, about 2km from the lane. 'Right now, it's close to town but it's unlikely it will actually reach it.' His team was relieving a team that had been fighting the fire for hours, taking them fire-beaters and fresh water. They were joined by about 30 firefighters and more than 10 fire engines. A fire command centre was also set up. Another civil aid volunteer, who declined to give his name, said all they could do was monitor the blaze. 'When it's burning like this, it would be dangerous to get close,' he said. 'We are basically waiting to see what will happen next, what direction it will spread. This is really tough, just to stand here and watch and we can do nothing.' Ling Hon-hung, 50, a long-time resident of Tseng Tau Tsuen Sheung Tsuen, watched the fire with his 12-year-old son, Ling Ka-fai, outside their village down the hill last night. 'There have been hill fires but never one burning so fiercely,' Mr Ling said. But he was confident the blaze would not be able to cross a water channel separating the country park from the edge of the town. He said he saw five government helicopters constantly dropping water bombs earlier in the day but they had failed to halt the fire. 'You could see the pilots going round and round but they only managed to slow down rather than stop the fire spreading,' Mr Ling said. His son said he wanted to stay up to watch the fire and was not afraid. 'This is exciting. It's like watching fireworks,' the boy said. 'I hope to stay up late but my parents probably won't let me.' Up to 20 villagers and neighbours gathered to watch the fire and were debating whether it would be safe to stay in their houses. Vincent Kong, another long-time resident near Mr Ling's village, was concerned about the spread of the fire. Police and Fire Services had said at 11pm it was not necessary to evacuate and 'we are staying put at the moment, but my family is monitoring the news closely', he said. Conservancy Association chief executive Lister Cheung Lai-ping said education was needed to stop fires during grave-sweeping festivals. She pointed to a project her group had run on Lamma, where residents had complained about lots of hill fires in the past. Volunteers went to graveyards to remind people about the danger of fire. 'The results were very encouraging. No hill fire was reported on the island this year,' Ms Cheung said.