10 fires in end-March

The burning of joss sticks and incense papers during this year's Qing Ming festival has resulted in five times more fires than last year.

So far, 10 cases have been recorded in the last 10 days of March, as compared with two cases between mid-March to mid-April last year, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said.

However, the fires this year were minor, with no reported injuries.

Qing Ming fell on Saturday, but families may sometimes clean their ancestors' tombs, give offerings and burn prayer paraphernalia days before or after.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the SCDF have reminded members of the public to exercise greater caution when making religious offerings as the dry weather would increase the risk of fire outbreaks.

For instance, Housing Board dwellers should burn incense paper in the incense burners or metal containers provided by the Town Councils. Private residential owners should also use incense paper burners.

The burners or containers should also be placed on sturdy ground and at a safe distance away from combustible materials and locations.

On its part, NEA has increased the number of burners at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and its four columbariums at Choa Chu Kang, Mandai, Mount Vernon and Yishun.

While there are normally 50 burners, there were more than 1,100 units during the festival.

Dry weather led to more fires during Qing Ming

This article was published on April 7 in The New Paper.

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