Group concerned over environmental impact of fire

Up in smoke: An aerial shot showing the forest fires in Kampung Pekajang near Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has raised concern over the environmental impact from the forest fire near Kampung Pekajang in Iskandar Puteri.

It’s vice-president Vincent Chow said the burning forest had caused haze in the area.

“The ash from the burned trees can release carbon particles and it is not good for those suffering from asthma or breathing difficulties,” he said.

The forest is located less than 15km away from Kota Iskandar, the state administrative centre, and the Tanjung Pelepas Port (PTP).

The surrounding areas have also been engulfed in smoke from the burning trees.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) in the area was recorded at 81 yesterday.

The API reading of between 0 and 50 is good, while 51 and 100 is moderate, 101 and 200 is unhealthy, 201 and 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above is deemed hazardous.

Chow said the fire could spread quickly underground and the forest terrain could hamper firemen’s efforts to contain the blaze.

The firefighters had been battling the forest fire for about a week but they were facing difficulty in channelling water to the forest to douse the flames.

About 16ha of forest was engulfed by the flames and about 60%, or 9.6ha of the fire has been successfully put out, but strong winds cause new hotspots to appear in nearby areas.
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