PETALING JAYA: With the arrival of the dry season, firefighters are bracing themselves for some tough battles with forest and peat fires expected.
Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said parts of Selangor, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak have been identified as hotspots.
The southwest monsoon started on Wednesday, bringing drier weather to peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak until September.
“The monsoon is expected to cause a drop in rainfall,” Wan Mohd Nor said.
All 13,000 department staff have been put on standby, and a notice will also be issued to department officers instructing them to ensure that all equipment are in good order.
The department has seven helicopters, 500 firetrucks, 400 lorries and pick-up trucks, 1,000 portable pumps and 10 high-capacity mobile water pumps that can be deployed to fight fires.
Wan Mohd Nor said the department was reviewing its Standard Operating Procedure for tackling forest and peat fires.
“This is because we may require more support from related agencies including the Department of Environment.”
He said forest and peat fires were expected especially in wetlands near the KLIA, Bestari Jaya and Sungai Besar in Selangor; Rompin, Nenasi and Pekan in Pahang; Beris Lalang in Bachok, Kelantan; Tok Kah in Dungun, Terengganu; and several hilly areas in Perak forest reserves.
He advised people against doing any open burning which could cause smog.
“Setting fires to clear small heaps of rubbish can be as dangerous as starting a fire to clear a large plot of land. Both can spread easily in this hot and dry weather,” said Wan Mohd Noor.
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