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By Nur Ashikin Louis
KOTA SAMARAHAN, June 3: Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) has over 1,200 firefighters on standby to face the coming drought season, with several hotspots identified in Miri, Sibu, Mukah, and Kuching.
Malaysian Bomba director-general Dato Sri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said the country has shifted from the northeast monsoon to the southwest monsoon, expected to last until October.
“We have prepared our front line with asset equipment, including the fire fighting equipment for forest and peat fires.
“We believe handling peat fire is highly challenging because even when we conduct water bombing (from the air), it still needs intervention action on land, which requires a lot of manpower.
“However, with the help of other agencies in the State, we believe we can reduce the frequency of wildfires such as the State government’s deployment of drones to detect open burning activities,” he said when launching the Sarawak Bomba preparedness for the drought season held at Samarahan Bomba Station (BBP) today.
Asked if there’s any strategy to add more firefighters in Sarawak to face the coming monsoon season, Hamdan said the State will use the entire existing workforce and will only deploy backup from other States like Sabah and Labuan when necessary.
The department also has assistance from auxiliary firefighters, the Bomba community, and 110 recruits from the Sarawak Bomba academy.
He also mentioned that Bomba had conducted a study based on the criteria to build a fire station and asset placement, where 90 per cent of the assets are sufficient.
“However, the process to add more assets will continue as we take into consideration assets that are dilapidated and that there are new fire stations that have not yet received Bomba equipment,” he added.
As of May 31 this year, BBP Lopeng received the most number of emergency calls on open burning at 35, followed by BBP Miri Central (31), BBP Bintulu (25), BBP Sibu (18), and BBP Batu Lintang (17).
Of the total emergency calls on open burning for the same period, 170 involved peat fire, followed by waste disposal (95), forest fire (6) and plantation (2).
Also present were Sarawak Bomba director Datuk Khirudin Drahman and Sarawak Bomba assistant director of Operations Henderi Ardimanshah. — DayakDaily