KOTA KINABALU: A fire is raging at hilly conservation area near Mount Trusmadi, Sabah’s second highest mountain and there is little Forestry Department personnel can do to put out the blaze for now.
Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the fire had so far burned more than 500ha of bushes and secondary forest at the Trus Madi conservation area located about 70km from the city.
“The fire is now burning on steep slopes and our tractors cannot climb these areas to make firebreaks,” he told The Star late Wednesday.
He said the blaze was now burning a vulnerable area of shrubs and acacia as well as secondary forests that were first damaged by fires during the last intense El Nino induced drought in 1997 and 1998.
He said the fire was believed to have started more than two weeks ago at state lands near the conservation area.
“These fires were started by people practising shifting cultivation and got out of control because of the present dry conditions,” Mannan added.
He said the department had deployed a team of rangers to try and bring the fire under control but they were making little progress so far due to the dry spell.
Mannan said they would consult the Fire and Rescue Services Department on the possibility of using aerial water bombing to douse out the blaze in the conservation area.