Bushfires trigger unhealthy haze levels


A bush fire near one of the housing areas in Kota
Kinabalu are contributing towards unhealthy air pollutant index in the state capital.

A bush fire near one of the housing areas in Kota Kinabalu are contributing towards unhealthy air pollutant index in the state capital.

KOTA KINABALU: The state capital has been hit by haze as a result of bushfires and the current dry spell.

Air quality dropped to unhealthy levels at 1pm yesterday with the Air Pollutant Index readings for Kota Kinabalu at 143 and long with 118 for south western Papar and the Beaufort areas.

The Environment Department website did not indicate any hotspots within the region that could have triggered the haze.

Local meteorologists blamed the situation on localised fires around the city’s west coast areas.

Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department spokesman Mohd Affendi Ramin said they had been receiving daily reports of bushfires statewide since the dry spell started last month.

“I urge people to stop open burning,” he said.

As of 2pm yesterday, the department had received 14 reports of bushfires within the city and another five in the neighbouring Tuaran district.

Several fires were believed to have been triggered by open burning activities or lit cigarettes in the state capital and neighbouring district.

Two vehicles parked in an open space in Putatan area near here were destroyed in a blaze after dry grass in the area caught fire.

The dry spell is expected to end next month.