MIRI: Clear skies are back and the 220,000 residents of Miri can breathe easier now after enduring a week of smoke and ash-filled air.
Cloud-seeding operations carried out over northern Sarawak have succeeded in bringing rain.
A continuous drizzle since early yesterday morning cleared the heavy veil of smoke caused by wild fires that burned out of control over the past few days.
The Meteorological Department and the Royal Malaysian Air Force on Thursday evening started cloud-seeding after detecting the presence of rain clouds.
By about 1am yesterday, rain fell over Miri for about three hours. It was enough to remove the smoke and ash in the atmosphere and help douse many fires burning in the town's outskirts.
State Meteorological Department head Loh Eng Kee said the first attempt at cloud-seeding was launched at about 5pm on Thursday.
“We conducted cloud-seeding using an RMAF aircraft. The operations were conducted from the RMAF base in Labuan because Miri does not have enough facilities for such a big exercise. The exercise will continue if deemed necessary,” he said.
The department also forecast that isolated showers would occur in Miri over the next few days which would help alleviate the effects of the prolonged dry spell.
The situation in Kuala Baram, Tudan, and near the Curtin University of Technology campus in Lutong improved tremendously.
Most of the fires were put out as of noon yesterday, though several peat swamps still had smoke billowing, but at a much reduced scale.
The Curtin campus reopened after two days of closure.