Couple sets mountain on fire after failed romantic photoshoot - it took 200 firefighters to extinguish the blaze which caused R126 000 in damages


A couple has to pay in excess of 6,500 GBP (about R126 000) after setting fire to a mountainside during a romantic photo session that involved burning steel wool.

More than 200 firefighters spent two hours tackling the blaze atop Queya Mountain, which is in the South of China.

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The mountain is a popular location for sunset photography 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. Unfortunately for this couple, the steel wool trick ended up setting a huge part of the mountain ablaze.

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Lai Zhiqing, an officer with the forestry detachment of the Dongyuan County Public Security Bureau, said, “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 over 110 million times at the time of writing. The photographer and his partner were handed a 15-day detention sentence, as well as a 54-GBP (R1 000) fine.

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They also face a bill in excess of 6,500 GBP (R 126 000) for damage done to the mountain, and for the firefighting costs.  The photographer reportedly said, “As I’d experimented with steel wool in the past, and because it was very beautiful up there, I didn’t consider the consequences.”

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Sourced from Magazine Features / Compiled by Futhi Masilela

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