MIRI: Concerns over the situation of wildfires in Miri are escalating as now six locations are found to be ablaze since Monday.
Over the weekend, the Miri Fire and Rescue Department had dealt with three cases of wildfires at Lutong, Piasau and Prima Villa in Kuala Baram.
Some of which were found to be sparked off on purpose to clear the bush land and to prepare the area for agricultural purposes.
The new locations that caught fire are also in these hotspots.
While firemen have been fighting the flame for days, Miri City Council also sends out enforcement teams to go after the culprits of open burning.
Mayor Adam Yii expressed that he was aghast at the latest situation as the ban on open burning in Miri was still in effect.
“Open burning has been banned in Miri Division (since last year) and the ban has never been lifted.
“More cases of wildfires have been recorded in the past few days. Last night, I was told six locations were on fire.
“On Monday, I flew from Mulu to Miri, I could see from the plane that many places in the wild have caught fire.
“As a result of the wildfires, air quality in the city was clearly unsatisfactory since Monday night,” he told StarMetro.
Yii added that the Department of Environment had issued warning letters to 11 major landowners in Miri so that they would refrain from open burning.
He called for concerted effort from the DoE, Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board and residents to tackle this problem.
Miri has become notorious for these wildfires that cause haze annually in the northern area.
Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the wildfires were serious in Kuala Baram.
He noted that one of the sites in Piasau involved burning of old tyres, showing that unscrupulous people were getting rid of their unwanted items at the expense of others and the environment.
“Members of the public with information about anyone setting off fire on purpose must call the Fire Department immediately, or send information to the DoE directly,” he said.