Dumb Couple Set Mountain Ablaze With Botched Photo Shoot

Story By: John FengSub-Editor:  Joseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report   

Video Credit: AsiaWire

A couple have been arrested and face a bill in excess of 6,500 GBP after setting fire to 75,300 square feet of a mountainside during a romantic photo session that involved a burning steel wool Catherine wheel.

More than 200 firefighters spent two hours tackling the blaze atop Queya Mountain, which is in the county of Dongyuan in South China’s Guangdong Province, on 14th December.

Picture Credit: AsiaWire

The mountain is a popular location for sunset photography, and because of a series of wind turbines built on its ridgeline.

Footage released by the fire service reportedly shows the couple’s night-time photography technique involving spinning a bundle of burning steel wool.

The fine material, also known as wire sponge or iron wool, is extremely flammable – even when wet – and can be used as emergency tinder.

Shortly after, however, sparks ignited dry grass on the mountainside, burning an area just under 7,000 square metres (75,300 square feet).

Picture Credit: AsiaWire

Videos and subsequent aerial images show the patch of grass burning brightly below the number 25 wind turbine, which is not believed to have been damaged during the blaze.

Lai Zhiqing, an officer with the forestry detachment of the Dongyuan County Public Security Bureau, said: “They came to the mountain to watch shooting stars and brought a bundle of steel wool with them in order to take photos.

“They accidentally set fire to the mountain, but the damage in this case was not serious enough to consider arson charges.”

This is despite members of the public calling for the harshest punishment possible on Weibo – China’s equivalent to Twitter – where a hashtag of the incident had been viewed 110 million times at the time of writing.

Photographer Mr Xu and his partner were handed a 15-day detention sentence, as well as a 500-RMB (54-GBP) fine.

However, they face a bill in excess of 60,000 RMB (6,500 GBP) for damage done to the mountain, and for the firefighting costs.

Mr Xu told local media: “The spot by the number 25 turbine is very popular.

“As a photographer, I wanted us to take pictures there during and after sunset.

“As I’d experimented with steel wool in the past, and because it was very beautiful up there, I didn’t consider the consequences.”

Queya Mountain’s 33 wind turbines were constructed in 2013 as part of the county’s first-ever project to harvest renewable energy.

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