KEMAMAN: Over 135ha of forest in the state have been scorched by a blaze that firemen are still struggling to put out due to the drought.
The affected areas included 100ha of the 400ha Teluk Kalung peat swamp area, 5ha of the Kampung Batu 7 peat forest in Dungun, 15ha of the Kampung Chabang peat forest in Kerteh, and 15ha of the Kampung Durian Guling forest in Marang.
State Fire and Rescue Department operations assistant director Khairul Ariffin Che Ramli said firemen had been battling for the past three days to douse the fires which were triggered by the ongoing dry spell.
He said the situation was aggravated by the lack of water sources due to drying rivers.
“Most of the small rivers now have little water as they are drying up due to the prolonged heatwave.
“Some of the ponds are also located far from the fires,” he said.
Khairul Ariffin said the fires could have been set off by poachers and the clearing of farm land.
Since the start of the heatwave in January, some 890 open-burning cases had been reported, he said.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the cases reported were due to human negligence. Many tend to do farm-clearing and leave it unattended,” he said.
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