Those Pesky Catkins Caused 346 Fires in Beijing Last Month

By Justine Lopez, May 5, 2017

0 0

You know those fluffy white things that have been floating around town the past month? Well, those annoying little catkins were responsible for half of the fires in Beijing in April. 

According to the Beijing fire department, 686 fires were reported in the capital last month, and 346 of those blazes were catkin related, Xinhua reports.

It turns out that catkins are highly flammable, and they cause fires to spread really quickly.

READ MORE: It's Snowing! Nope… Beijing's Pesky Catkin Season is Upon Us

The worst recent catkin-related fire occurred earlier this week. At least 90 vehicles – including 12 tourist buses – were destroyed after a fire broke out in a parking lot near the Xiedao Holiday Resort in Chaoyang on Monday. Fifty fire engines were dispatched to put out the blaze. Luckily no one was injured. 

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, it is believed that the high amount of catkins that had gathered in the area caused a fireworks-related fire to get out of control – and fast. 

On Tuesday, Beijing officials organized teams of workers to help clean up the massive amount of catkins that have accumulated around the city. On Monday and Tuesday, 400 fire trucks and 300 water trucks sprayed 8,750 tons of water around the most catkin-concentrated areas of Beijing in order to keep those flammable balls of fluff from taking flight. 

But the recent rash of catkin-triggered fires isn’t surprising. During Beijing’s annual catkin phenomenon – often referred to as ‘April snow’ – there is historically a major increase in fires in the capital. 

READ MORE: Beijing Plans to Eliminate Pesky Catkin Problem by 2020

In May 2013, at least 105 fires broke out in a single week. Catkins were involved in every single one. In one case a woman had the brilliant idea of lighting a bunch of catkins on fire and accidentally burned down a bus and two cars.

Moral of the story is: don’t light the catkins on fire.  

more news

Several High-Fashion Brands Under Fire Over Major T-Shirt Errors

Versace, Coach and Givenchy all went viral on Weibo after releasing similar T-shirts with offensive design errors that undermine the ‘One China’ policy.

Didi Fires 300,000 Drivers After Multiple Murders Last Year

The safety measure is the latest in a series of steps that the company has taken to improve passenger security.

Xiaomi Under Fire for Patent Infringement Amidst Big IPO Debut

Good news and bad news for the tech giant.

Beijing Toughens Up in Battle Against Catkins

The city's municipal government has been brainstorming ways to get rid of those pesky floaters once and for all.

Meet the Beijing Residents Affected by the 40-Day Evacuation Campaign

We find out what it was like being caught up in the city's 'safety campaign,' in residents' own words.

5 Die in Yet Another Beijing Apartment Fire

The fire was caused by two electric bikes that were charging inside the building.

Mass Evictions of Migrants Spark Public Outcry in Beijing

Thousands of migrants are being evicted from their homes due to the citywide safety inspections currently sweeping over Beijing.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsBeijing for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Beijing With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Beijing!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.