Exhausted firefighters continue to fight wildfires

Firefighters at Pulau Bruit fighting the flames from spreading towards the village.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 10: The local fire departments have been stretched thin as firefighters continue to fight the forest, bush and peat soil fires at several locations in the state in the past few days.

According to Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak, they have received 44 cases of wildfires as at 6pm today, bringing total number to 227 cases since Aug 1.

A frefighter tackling wildfire to prevent the flame from spreading.

Even though some the areas have been reduced to scattered spots of lesser magnitude, exhausted firefighters continued to work diligently in sweeping the affected areas.

Bomba Sarawak emphasised that the situation was compounded by the current dry spell and prevailing winds while dead trees and forest litters also posed as potential threats, which could burst into flames ignited by the slightest spark, including any heat that may not have been put out completely.

Bomba Sarawak assistant director Tiong Ling Hii also expressed disappointment that many people do not care about firefighters advice to avoid open burning especially during the hot and dry weather.

“Most of today’s cases occurred in garden areas. The open burning were purposely done by villagers or gardeners for agricultural purposes. Once the fire start to spread, they cannot control it. Then they will contact the fire department for help,” he said.

An uninhabited house at Kampung Sedi in Pulau Bruit in Dato district was razed to the ground as forest fire spread to the area.

Volunteer firefighters help to fight peat soil fire at Kampung Seli.

With the help of villagers, firefighters managed to save the two other houses next to it by blocking the fire from spreading towards the village.

Meanwhile, Pulau Bruit volunteer firefighting (PBS) team including their women members also stood hand-in-hand together to help firefighters tackle fire at their area.

In Simunjan, firefighters managed to save a house at Kampung Sangki from total damage due to bush fire.

Over in Tanjung Manis, firefighters and PBS team have been battling wildfires which have spread over 300 acres at Kampung Sedi in the last three days.

Firefighter working tirelessly to tackle flames.

Firefighters in Sarikei and Bintangor were also fighting wildfires caused by open burning activities by farmers intending to clear their planting areas.

At press time, firefighters were still battling to contain the out-of-control fire from spreading to more areas.— DayakDaily