Water bombs effective in fighting forest fires

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  • Friday, 26 Feb 2016

A Bombardier plane flying low to scoop water to douse forest fires in Kuala Baram. – Photo: STEPHEN THEN/The Star

MIRI: An area of 35 sq km of forest fires in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak have been successfully doused so far.

Yesterday, the Bombardier aircraft carried out more sorties and managed to douse another 20 sq km of fires. The day before, 15 sq km was bombed with 354,000 litres of water.

So far, 81 rounds of water bombing had been carried out.

The planes, belonging to the Maritime Enforcement Agency, came on Tuesday following a request from Sarawak Assistant Minister for Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

Yesterday, the agency’s chief here, Lt Mohd Shahrin Idris, said some 486,000 litres of water were scooped from the Baram River to douse the fires.

“We dumped water over 20 sq km of fires but the visibility was low due to the thick smoke. One of the aircraft had to be redeployed to Kedah to fight fires in Baling so only one is left here,” he said.

The aircraft are capable of dumping 6,000 litres of water per sortie.

Forest fires have ravaged at least 1,000 acres of land in the district so far – an area roughly the size of 1,000 football fields.

Northern Sarawak is being hit by a very hot spell now.

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