Fight against Kuala Baram forest fire enters fourth week

MIRI, Aug 24: Three weeks on, some 100 firefighters and volunteers are still battling fire at the Industrial Training Centre (ILP) area in Kuala Baram, the worst-hit by open bush and peat fires in the state.

The fire in the peat soil shrub area, which dragged since Aug 3, has resulted in haze enveloping in the area to a hazardous level.

Miri Fire and Rescue chief Law Poh Kiong said today’s operation is centred at Lot 3709, where there are three large fire spots that is heading towards the ILP area. They estimated the total area of fire at about 100 acres.

A firefighter dousing fire at the site.

“We are trying our best to stop the fire from spreading towards ILP by using total flooding and aerial water-bombing methods with the help of the department’s air unit using helicopter.

“Our helicopter has made 23 droppings with 37,000 litres of water in the same location,” Law said.

The situation in the ILP area in Kuala Baram.

Firefighters are also on the ground battling the flames with the Civil Defence Force, Malaysian Armed Forces, Natural Resources and Environment Board, Department of Environment and volunteers from Naim Cendera and Shin Yang.

Shin Yang also provided heavy machineries to dig a 800 meter fire break.

Machineries used to dig up trenches as fire break

Over the past few weeks, fire has raged through more than 80 hectares of forests near the ILP and sparked concern about the haze.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) also assisted by using their Bombardier aircraft to douse the peat soil fire.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) reading at the ILP station as in 4pm today was 228.

An API reading of zero to 50 indicates that the air quality is good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and higher than 300, hazardous. — DayakDaily