Fire and Rescue Department monitoring current dry spell

PETALING JAYA: The Fire and Rescue Department is keeping close tabs with the Malaysian Meteorolo­gical Department on the dry spell.

Its director-general Datuk Wira Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said it was just the early stage of the dry season and it was not expected to last long.

“There are a few occurrences of forest fires but it is not that serious.

“We have enough personnel to face any situation. We’re monitoring closely.

“If the situation becomes more serious, I will get the personnel nationwide to be on standby and maybe we will even freeze their leave until everything is under control,” he said yesterday, adding that there were around 14,000 firemen in service nationwide.

In terms of equipment, Wan Mohd Noor said the department was also well prepared with additional pumps, hoses, generator sets and lighting systems purchased last year.

He advised members of the public to stop open burning and smokers not to simply throw their cigarette butts.

“A fire will not start by itself. Most of the time it is due to human activities.

“The fire spreads really fast during this season especially so let’s be more responsible to prevent this from happening,” he said.

On Sunday, The Star reported that the country’s fire alert map was covered almost entirely in red – the highest warning – for the coming days.

A map of the Malaysia Fire Danger Rating System, under the “Fine Fuel Moisture Code”, has nearly all parts of the peninsula in red, with the exception of a few places, including Kuching, which ironically, is currently hit by floods.

Although there may be occasional rains, these are not heavy enough in the dry season.

Red represents extreme ease of ignition and flammability of grasslands and bushes.

Large portions of Sarawak and Sabah are now also covered in red on the map.

Only a few parts of the peninsula’s east coast, south of Sarawak and northern Sabah are spared.

Fire , dry spell