Chinese police departments across the country have beefed up security measures to ensure a safe Tomb-sweeping Day this year.
Tomb-sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese holiday during which tributes are paid to deceased friends and family members. These tributes involve burning "fake" paper versions of money and other possessions, which has occasionally resulted in uncontrolled fires in years past.
The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Friday that local fire control bureaus should increase their scrutiny of funeral homes, public cemeteries, temples and historical buildings, so as to identify fire risks and prevent major fires during the festival, which falls on April 5 this year.
In addition, the ministry asked police nationwide to keep the public well-educated on fire safety by putting up warning banners in public venues and sending safety-themed text messages.
Police departments should increase patrols at sites where fires are likely to be lit, the statement said.
A total of 1,651 fires broke out during last year's festival, resulting in 17 deaths and 32 injuries, the ministry's statistics show.
About 450 million people celebrated the festival last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.