An inter-departmental exercise simulating a hill fire and mountain rescue was held at Violet Hill in Tai Tam today.


About 170 personnel from nine departments, including the Fire Services Department, Government Flying Service and Civil Aid Service managed the simulated fire that involved 20 hikers suffering various burn injuries and wounds.


A Government Flying Service helicopter was deployed to transport one hiker with a pelvic fracture to the hospital.


A Fire Services Department search dog was also dispatched to rescue another hiker with a broken leg.


The joint exercise has been held annually following a tragic hill fire at Pat Sin Leng in 1996 to enhance the co-ordination and logistical support capabilities among different departments and organisations.


According to the Fire Services Department, in 2018 there were over 1,500 hill fires, higher than previous years. A total of 451 hill fires occurred between this January and August.


The department believes that most of the blazes were caused by humans, such as the careless disposal of joss paper and candles by grave sweepers.


With the Chung Yeung Festival approaching, the department called for public attention to possible hill fires, as many people will be sweeping graves or hiking.