MALACCA: Reports of fires in farms, plantations and forests here jumped 430% to 1,553 cases from January to March, compared to 293 incidents over the same period last year.
State fire and rescue department director Zainuddin Md Alip said it received between 30 to 50 calls daily, of which 90% involved bush, forest and farm fires due to open burning.
“Apart from the hot and dry weather, the irresponsible attitude of the people is a major cause for the increasing number of fires,” he said.
Firemen have been kept busy for the last three months.
Hairulnizam Ridhuan, a senior officer at the Ayer Keroh fire station here, said: “We are really stressed out but the job has to be done.”
The 37-year-old said the station received between five to eight forest fire cases daily since January.
He said firemen spent between eight to 10 hours everyday at various locations, preventing fires from spreading to nearby jungles and buildings.
He said they were also exposed to extremely high temperatures and smoke and these had led to most of them suffering coughs, eye infections, fevers and headaches.
Fire truck driver-cum-water pump operator Yahaya Abd Wahab, 53, said locating water sources near the affected areas could be exasperating, particularly in this hot and dry weather.
“Our tanker can hold up to 1,514 litres of water,” he pointed out.
“But, we have been going out frequently to tame huge blazes as soon as we return to the station,” he said.
“I have to ensure that the tanker is filled to capacity once again so that it will be ready for the next fire.” — Bernama