New approaches needed to address peat fires

Len Talif (seated middle, second row) posing for a group photo after the closing ceremony of the convention.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI,Aug 23: The state government is looking into new approaches to tackle peat fires in Sarawak, says Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh.

For the Miri division, especially in Kuala Baram, he pointed out that there was a need to totally flood the area in order to reduce the risk of recurrence of peat fires in the future.

“Among the solutions that we are looking into include building more tube wells to conduct total flooding within the affected area (in Kuala Baram),” he explained.

Based on a research conducted by the Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak (NREB), he said there were water resources inside the peat soil.

“Perhaps we could build more tube wells within the affected area and do total flooding,” he suggested.

Len Talif (second right) accompanied by Justine (right) visiting students’ booth.

A total 1,400 hectares of land in Kuala Baram were destroyed by peat fires that raged for nearly one month since Aug 1.

“Peat fires in Kuala Baram is a localised issue and we have been trying many (conventional) approaches…we have everything there including fire separation technique, but to no avail, so we need to re-think on the solutions,” he added.

Len Talif highlighted this to the press after attending the closing of the second edition of Kelab Pencinta Alam Sekitar (PALS) Convention held at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club here today.

The three-day convention, which kicked off on Aug 20, was participated by 79 club members from 20 secondary schools across the state.

“We need to re-visit our methods to tackle and prevent peat fires in Kuala Baram immediately,” he said.

He noted that the situation was made worse due to the change in weather pattern compared to three years ago.

“The persistent dry and hot weather currently is slightly different from what we experienced three years ago where in June, July and August, there were rains almost every week,” he added.

NREB Controller Justine Jok Jau Emang was present.— DayakDaily