Dry season sparks fires

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 28 Feb 2016

Turned to ash: Firemen viewing a part of oil palm plantations stretching from the Marudi to Miri region razed by forest fires. (Below) Smoke seen at the jungle from the other side of Batu Caves in Selangor.

PETALING JAYA: The dry season is smouldering on with forest fires raging in various parts of the country – from the limestone hills in Batu Caves to vast tracts in Sarawak.

The fires have ravaged at least 404ha - an area about the size of 1,000 football fields in the Kuala Baram district.

About 80ha of oil palm plantations in the Marudi district have also been razed and 242 ha are now under threat, according to the Marudi Fire and Rescue Depart­ment.

In Kuala Baram, firemen have put out fires in an area of about 35sq/km.

The department carried out 100 rounds of water bombing using two Bombardier aircraft of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

A smoke can be seen from the other side of Batu Caves.SAMUEL ONG / THE STAR, 27TH FEBRUARY 2016.
Smoke seen at the jungle from the other side of Batu Caves in Selangor.

The two aircraft have since been redeployed to Kedah to fight fires in Baling.

“So we only have the firefighters on the ground to deal with the fires,” Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said yesterday.

In Kuala Lumpur, the bush fires at Bukit Batu Caves, which started Friday morning, was still burning yesterday.

About 160 firemen are working to put out the reduced number of smaller fires along the hillside.

Selangor Fire and Rescue assistant operations director Mohd Sani Harul said the dry weather was also making the task more difficult.

“However, the fires are under control,” he said yesterday.

Residents of Taman Industri Bolton also woke up to see thick smoke covering the hillside near their homes yesterday.

Fire fighters managed to put out the fires, which had crept up to about 60m from the slopes.

In Alor Setar, the fire on Gunung Pulai which had been burning for the past four days, were finally put out on Friday. but firemen were still on standby in case it flared up again.

Kedah Fire and Rescue Department Supt Mohamed Yunus Abu said 50 firemen were assisted by about 40 forest guides and 15 volunteers from the state Civil Defence Department, the Malaysian Maritime Enfor­cement Agency (MMEA), state Forestry Department and the Baling District Council.

“The MMEA’s water bomber was a great help,” he said.

Hikers who had cooked on the mountain were believed to have started the fire.

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