image image

Hong Kong rescue services

Bush fire doused in Nam Sang Wai as firefighters investigate third wetland blaze in 10 days

No injuries reported in incident in northwest New Territories

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 2:23pm

A bush fire broke out in the Nam Sang Wai wetland in the northwest New Territories on Thursday morning, the third blaze in the area in 10 days.

Emergency services were called in soon after 10.30am, when police received a report of a fire on a hillside near a fish pond off Ho Chau Road, Yuen Long.

According to the Fire Services Department, two fire engines were sent to the scene.

“Firefighters fought the blaze with a water jet and doused the flames at 10.58am,” a department spokeswoman said.

The affected area measured 10 metres by 3 metres, and no injuries were reported, she said, adding that the department was investigating the cause of the blaze.

About 14 hectares of reed beds, abandoned fish ponds and trees were scorched in two separate fires that broke out in the wetland conservation area on Monday and Tuesday last week.

Firefighters found the second incident to be suspicious. Police have temporarily classified the case as arson and are checking CCTV footage and looking for witnesses after receiving reports of men lurking suspiciously in the area.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu and a coalition of 14 environmental groups said last week that the fires were “highly suspicious”. They urged the authorities to investigate thoroughly and step up protection of the area.

Kwong, who is also a Yuen Long district councillor, said the fires had multiple sources, and it was unlikely that these areas went up in flames coincidently and simultaneously.

On Saturday, police received a report from a member of public who found a plastic container carrying an unknown solution in Nam Sang Wai. A police spokeswoman said the solution had been collected for examination.

Officers from the Yuen Long district crime squad have been tasked to investigate the two hill fires last week.

Nam Sang Wai, near the protected Mai Po and Deep Bay Ramsar sites, is an important stopover area for migrating birds.