Kathmandu, October 22 Tihar, which is also popularly called Deepawali or the festival of lights, may create unsafe environment due to the way it is celebrated. Though there is an atmosphere of euphoria, fire incidents during Deepawali are common. Bearing in mind the increase in fire incidents, the office of Kathmandu Metropolitan City has launched a week long fire safety awareness-raising programme in the capital beginning today. KMC Chief Rudra Singh Tamang said the awareness-raising programme follows due assessment of fire incidents during festivals in previous years. “A simple precaution can prevent potential fire disasters but people do not seem to be aware about proper and safe ways to handle sources of fire.  Burning candles and butter lamps kept inside and outside the houses are potential fire hazards. “As houses are illuminated with lamps during Tihar, we conducted the awareness programme of this kind for the first time,” Kishor Kumar Bhattarai, chief of Juddha Barun Yantra. As part of the programme, an awareness rally was taken out in core city areas of Dharmapath, Ombahal, Maru Ganesh, Yatkha, Naradevi, Bangemudha and Indrachowk today. Hundreds of people, including representatives from Nepal Police, Nepal Red Cross Society, Ward Disaster Management Committees, KMC, JBY and local clubs participated in the rally. According to JBY, it had recorded up to 10 incidents of fire daily during the five-day Tihar festival last year. Similarly, bursting of fireworks is also a major security and safety concern during Tihar. Police said use of firecrackers can cause serious injuries and pose threats to public health due to noise and air pollution. The smoke from firecrackers consists mainly of toxic dusts and are hence harmful to health. Police have stepped up security to ensure that illegal and dangerous fireworks are not used in Kathmandu Valley during Tihar festival. Security personnel have been keeping vigil on the outskirts of the Valley, mainly at major entry points, to curb illegal imports of explosive materials and firecrackers in the run-up to Tihar.