MIRI: Dealing with peat fires is a tough task that requires aerial assault, ground measures and also underground digging.
To combat the Kuala Baram forest fires over the past three days, a three-pronged strategy was required.
This is because the fires in peat-land not only rage on the surface but can burn deep underground into the peat soil.
Yesterday, the Miri Fire and rescue Department used big excavators to dig up smouldering flames in underground peat fires in the Kuala Baram district to put out the fire.
“The use of these heavy duty machines plus the aerial water-bombing by our air unit and efforts by ground firefighters managed to tackle the forestfires in Kuala Baram district, said Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong.
The fires have burned more than 40 hectares of land since Friday.
“The excavators will ensure we dig up and snuff out the smouldering remains in the underground soil.
“The surface fires have been doused through aerial water bombings by our ground units which handle the problem on the land,” Supt Law said.
The air unit used helicopters to carry out some 140 rounds of water-bombing from the air, he said.
The air quality has greatly improved yesterday in Kuala Baram and Miri districts.
In Kuala Baram, the Air Pollutant Index was 64 yesterday morning while Miri was 65.
The past three days saw the haze level reaching unhealthy levels with air pollutant index about 150 at one point in Kuala Baram and 110 in Miri.
Supt Law said his units will continue to keep alert in case any fires resurface in Kuala Baram.
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