5 times more fires during this year's Qing Ming

5 times more fires during this year's Qing Ming

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

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

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 such as the switch room or other residential premises.

On its part, the NEA has increased the number of burners at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and its four columbaria in Choa Chu Kang, Mandai, Mount Vernon and Yishun to more than 1,100 units, from 50 previously.


This article was published on April 7 in The Straits Times.

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