24-hour surveillance to monitor wildfire hotspots in Miri, Kuala Baram

MIRI: The Sarawak state disaster relief management committee has ordered a 24-hour surveillance to be carried out at notorious wildfire hotspots in Miri and Kuala Baram districts.

Its chairman and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah said the latest round of wildfires here has caused hundreds of hectares of wildfires that contributed to the haze.

"We must stop the wildfires and not let them spread to hundreds of hectares as what is happening now.

"The committee has reviewed all the ongoing strategies that are being used to deal with these wildfires.

"There is urgent need to implement more effective measures.

"We will set up 24-hour guard posts at the various locations where the fires keep happening.

"Rela units will be hired to carry out monitoring 24-hours a day to stop the burning," he said after chairing the meeting in Miri late Monday (March 2).

The state committee is concerned that these wildfires keep on happening every few months, year after year.

Last week, the Air Pollutant Index (API) in Kuala Baram district hit an unhealthy level of 123.

In Miri district, the API is at 97 - which is at moderate level but very close to the unhealthy level (API of 100 and above).

Both districts are being badly affected by the haze from forest fires that had been burning at various plantation land over the past three weeks.

Firefighters are doing their best to stop the fires in these land belonging to private companies.

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