MIRI: Big mechanical pumps that can draw water from 2km away are being used to fight the forest fires in northern Sarawak, as firemen continue working round the clock.
Fire and Rescue Department personnel are using these huge mechanical pumps to draw water from areas where water can be obtained from rivers and streams and use it to “flood out” the peat fires in the Kuala Baram district.
The Miri and Lopeng fire stations have deployed dozens of firemen and mobile pumps to the affected areas.
They have been working non-stop to douse the fire hotspots.
“So far, it is working and there are signs that the peat fires are being contained,” said Miri Fire Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong.“We have set up hydro sub-stations to draw up water using hoses measuring 2km-long to flood the fires that had burned into the peat soil.
“There are positive indications that this method is working in dousing the underground fires,” he told reporters yesterday.
Supt Law said the haze was not as thick compared to the days before after the peat fires were flooded with water.
Firemen are focusing on a big fire at a plantation in Kuala Baram that had burned beyond the 100ha mark.
They are also being assisted by voluntary fire-fighting units from private companies in Kuala Baram. Aerial water-bombings are also being carried out, while excavators were deployed to dig up underground smouldering flames.
The Star had reported about the raging forest fire, which has spread to about 100ha – the size of 220 football fields.
The inferno, which started on Monday about 30km north of Miri city in the Kuala Baram district, caused smog which reduced visibility to just 100m in most residential and commercial areas, especially in the Pujut to Lutong stretch.
Supt Law said the fires were located in the forests with no access roads, making it difficult for firefighters to reach by land.