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Hong Kong rescue services

Hong Kong’s 100 hill fires during Ching Ming festival highlight lack of risk awareness 

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 3:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 3:42pm

I read with concern your report on the spate of hill fires last week (“Hong Kong firefighters tackle almost 100 hillside blazes during Ching Ming festival”, April 5). 

As many as 97 fires were reported as people flocked to the hillsides to sweep their ancestor’s graves and burn paper offerings. One third-alarm blaze, in Yuen Long, drew 22 fire engines and 120 firefighters, and was reportedly almost the size of two football fields, though it wasn’t clear if grave-sweepers were to blame. Several government helicopters were also deployed to help fight some New Territories blazes. 

Not only was vegetation destroyed, there was damage to property as well, with vehicles parked close by gutted. And some villagers had to flee their homes when a nearby hillside caught fire.

I think it is us who should be blamed for such destruction and panic. 

That is because hill fires are often caused by our failure to properly put out incense sticks and paper offerings, and to take away flammable rubbish. 

The observatory had issued a “yellow fire danger” warning as early as 6am on the day, so we should have been aware of the risks.

Dorma Tse, Tsuen Wan