Haze caused by peat fire adds to Sabah’s hardship


Fighting on: Firemen have been working round the clock in efforts to put out the peat fire burning from below ground and controlling the blaze from hotspots like this one at Kg Pintasan in Kota Belud. — NORMIMIE DIUN/The Star

Fighting on: Firemen have been working round the clock in efforts to put out the peat fire burning from below ground and controlling the blaze from hotspots like this one at Kg Pintasan in Kota Belud. — NORMIMIE DIUN/The Star

KOTA KINABALU: A fast spreading peat fire in the Binsuluk Forest Reserve area in south-west Sabah has caused haze to blanket parts of the state’s west coast.

This is in addition to the dry spell that has already caused hardship in many parts of the state.

Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department director Nordin Pauzi said some 100 firemen have been sent to the Binsuluk area, about 130km from here, to put out the peat fires that have already spread into the forest reserves.

Efforts have been ongoing to control the peat fire since early March after it was spotted in areas close to the reserve.

Apart from that Binsuluk peat fire, he said firemen were also attending to over a hundred distress calls in the state.

The haze caused visibility in the Kota Kinabalu area to drop to three kilometres while Labuan recorded eight kilometres. Other areas like Sandakan, Kudat and Tawau recorded more than 10km visibility. No flights were disrupted.

Sabah Meteorological Depart­ment acting director Lim Ze Hui said five localised hot spots in Beaufort, Bongawan (Klias peninsula) and Kota Belud were spotted since late Wednesday.

He added that they did not expect any immediate rain in the west coast of the state though there have been isolated showers in Sandakan.

Sabah’s dry spell since early February has affected traditional water sources from streams, wells and gravity water feeds.

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