Nation at risk of fire

  • Nation
  • Monday, 18 Mar 2019

PETALING JAYA: The entire Penin­sular Malaysia (except for Klang), Sabah and parts of Sarawak between Miri and Bintulu have been identified as being at extreme risk of fire, said Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Alui Bahari.

“Open burning is strictly prohibi­ted as it will be extremely difficult to control fire under the current hot and dry spell,” he said when asked to comment on the code red warnings issued by the department in certain areas nationwide.

The red code is issued by the department’s Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) to indicate extreme level of risk of forest fires, unbeatable bush fires and drought.

FDRS is a forest/vegetation fire monitoring system that uses meteo­rological variables including tempe­rature, relative humidity, rainfall and wind velocity to assist in haze and fire mitigation plans.

“At least for the next few days open burning is strictly prohibited,” he said.

“However, during the transition period from March 19 to May, we can expect more rain and thunderstorms.

“But that does not mean we can start burning garden refuse and other stuff right away from March 19.

“Although we anticipate rain and thunderstorms during the transition period, we do not expect rain to fall right on the first day.”

The Fine Fuel Moisture Code is also at an extreme level in the affected areas, indicating that flammable ma­terial such as dry grass may easily catch fire.

Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, coastal areas of Negri Sembilan, central Pahang and including parts of Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu are also on red alert, as the Fire Weather Code indicates it will be difficult to bring fire under control in those areas.

Drought has also hit many parts of the country including Langkawi, northern Kedah, the south-western tip of Penang island, Gerik in Perak, central Pahang, and Johor.

The Drought Code for the affected areas indicate that it will take fewer than five days of dry weather to reach the haze threshold level.

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