KUALA SELANGOR: The fire at the Raja Muda Musa forest reserve now covers an area of 81sq kilometres.
Selangor state executive councillor in charge of environment Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng said the fire had affected 79sq km on Wednesday from 63sq km on Tuesday.
“However, it only spread by 2sq km on Thursday. The firemen are confident the fire has been brought under control.
“The reports sent to me are hopeful. The fire has spread, yes, but on a smaller scale. Our firemen worked hard to contain the fire and it looks like they have been successful,” he added.
Ch'ng said most of the pockets of fire in the 81sq km radius of burning peat soil had been extinguished.
“However, it will take some time to put out the fire completely.
“I hope the affected public will understand and bear with the situation for a while longer,” he added.
Although the fire has been contained, it is believed that it will take two weeks to a month to be completely extinguished.
This means that residents of surrounding towns like Batang Berjuntai, Kuala Selangor and Tanjung Karang will have to brace for more days of dusty and hazy conditions.
Ch'ng said the hazy situation in Klang, Sepang and Banting and in some other parts of Selangor yesterday was a result of fires in the state.
Ten hotspots have been detected in the state. Six were in Batang Berjuntai, one in Rasa, one in Sepang and two more in Kanchong Darat.
The fire at the 44,488sq km forest reserve was first detected on Feb 15, when pockets of peat soil caught fire.
Although the initial fire was put out, the hot weather and strong south-easterly winds reignited the fire, which spread to a bigger area.
In Kuantan, Norizan Abu Bakar, the officer manning the state Fire and Rescue Department operations centre, said they had been battling peat fires in dried up swampland in Rompin since Feb 14.
He said the fire had been brought under control and had not spread to other parts of the area.
Some 250ha of land in Rompin and 150ha in Muadazam Shah were still burning.
Two new fires were detected in the area yesterday – in Sungai Miang (covering 10ha) and Penor (5ha).
In Johor Baru, a bush fire covering some 24ha of a forest has been burning at Kampung Lubuk Bakul in Muar since Feb 12.
Every day since the fire started, some 15 firemen were deployed to the area, located along the North-South Expressway (NSE) near Pagoh, to control and extinguish the fire.
Johor fire department assistant director (operations) Abdul Hamid S. Abdullah said the forest area would, however, catch fire again the next day.
“It’s difficult to extinguish the fire completely as the area is made up of peat soil,” he added.
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