A number of fires broke out across Hong Kong on Thursday as Hongkongers paid respects to their ancestors during Ching Ming Festival, also known as tomb sweeping day.

The government reported two No. 3 alarm fires in Lau Fau Shan near Tin Shui Wai and Kong Tau Tsuen, Yuen Long. Jets and breathing apparatus teams were mobilised, and no casualties were reported.

A fire on Fei Ngo Shan. Photo: Vincy Lau Wing Sze via HK Incident Group.

Fires were also reported in various locations in Tuen Mun, Fanling, Sheung Shui and others.

The incidents took place as the yellow danger warning was in force, meaning that the risk of fire was high. As of 10pm on Friday, 97 fires were recorded by the Fire Services Department throughout the day.

tin shui wai fire
A fire in Tin Shui Wai. via Lee Yuet-man.

It is common for joss paper offerings to be burned during ancestor worship ceremonies, especially during Ching Ming Festival.

Under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance, any person who unreasonably lights a fire in, or near any forest, plantation or open countryside commits an offence and can be fined HK$25,000 or jailed for a year.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.