Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
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Prevent Hill Fire
PROTECT OUR COUNTRYSIDE PREVENT HILL FIRE
Why Hill Fires Occur
In autumn and winter when the humidity is low and rainfall is scarce, vegetation in the countryside becomes dry and hill fires often occur in these seasons. Every year, weeds and grasses grow vigorously in the wet summer season causing a great deal of fuel accumulation for the coming dry season. The countryside is therefore prone to high fire risk. Although fires occur in natural environments, almost all are caused by human negligence.
In Hong Kong, hill fires are the enemy of nature. They destroy ecological environments, such as grasslands, shrublands and plantations. They also kill wild animals and destroy their habitats. Hill fires, having burnt off the vegetation cover, also cause soil erosion. And, in some cases, hill fires threaten human property and life.
Hill fires occur most frequently during two grave sweeping festivals. For example, on the Chung Yeung Festival day, more than 120 hill fires may occur. In December 2004, a major hill fire in Pat Sin Leng Country Park lasted for 34 hours destroying some 11,000 trees across 105 hectares.
During fire season from October to April, AFCD fire crews are on duty around the clock, to detect and fight hill fires within Country Parks.
AFCD fire fighters are equipped with fire beaters, backpack pumps and other equipments for fire fighting. If required, members of the Fire Services Department and Civil Aid Services will join the fire fighting. The Government Flying Services also assists through water bombing, air trooping and reconnaissance in the control of hill fires.
AFCD has established many barbeque sites in all Country Parks for public use. Fire breaks, water tanks, fire lookouts and other facilities have been constructed to prevent the spreading of hill fires.
The government has also launched numerous publicity programmes through school talks, the media, village visits, posters and other means to educate the public about the prevention of hill fires.
Fire Danger Warning signs are erected in all Country Parks to alert the public the existing fire risk on the day.
The public should take note, prior to countryside outings, of Fire Danger Warnings issued by Hong Kong Observatory. These are broadcasted by television and radio.
The Fire Danger Warnings are:
Yellow Fire Danger Warning – the fire risk is high.
Red Fire Danger Warning – the fire risk is extreme.
When visiting the countryside, the public should take appropriate fire precautions according to the fire danger warning issued.
What To Do If a Hill Fire Occurs
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Last Review Date : 03 October 2013