Water curtains shield World Heritage houses in central Japan

NHK -- Oct 30

A fire drill was conducted at a World Heritage site in central Japan to protect the traditional steep-angled, thatched houses by creating water curtains.

The drill in Ogimachi district of Shirakawa Village is held every year around this time, when residents begin to use heating and the air becomes dry.

On Sunday at 8 a.m., as a siren wailed, villagers and volunteer firefighters sprayed water from water cannons, creating dozens of water curtains to protect the houses from sparks.

The Ogimachi district has 59 inhabited houses with thatched roofs. It had the same number of water cannons until last year, but discovered that they were not enough to cover all of the structures. Therefore, an additional one was installed this year, bringing the total to 60. ...continue reading