Villagers hold fire drill at World Heritage site

An annual fire drill has been conducted in a World Heritage village in central Japan.

Residents and volunteer firefighters of Shirakawa Village in Gifu Prefecture took part in the drill on Sunday to protect houses with distinctive steep-angled, thatched roofs.

The drill is conducted every year around this time when the air gets dry.

At 8 a.m. as a siren wailed, water gushed from 59 water cannons in various parts of the village, creating walls of water to protect the treasured houses from sparks.

In November 2019, two thatched cabins at a parking lot for tourists burned down. Residents successfully prevented the fire from spreading by manually operating the water cannons.

One of the residents said that the drill is important to raise awareness and it helps them be prepared although they were surprised by the fire two years ago.