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KUCHING, Aug 15: Firefighters will do a total ‘knockout’ and their best to contain wildfires especially in Kuala Baram, Miri before schools reopen next week.
Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director Khirudin Drahman said they have four more days to do so before schools reopen on Aug 19.
With the help from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency today and slight rainfall yesterday evening, firefighters manage to get some relief in their efforts to fight fire.
“Our firefighters here have been fighting wildfire over the past two weeks. The Bombardier C415 from MMEA has joined our firefighting efforts and that will help us a lot,” he said after the department’s innovative and creative convention closing ceremony today.
The firefighters who usually work on 12-hour shifts are temporarily following a 24-hour shift.
“However, we are facing challenging situations because this is peat fire. The grounds are soft, therefore we cannot bring in our heavy vehicles or machines. So our firefighters have to walk on foot,” Khirudin added.
With the current hot weather conditions and winds, he urged the public especially farmers, plantations and land owners to avoid open burning.
“For you, this is an effective or cost-saving method to clear your land, but it will affect others especially their health, including your own family members,” he lamented.
The operations continued for the 14th day at Hamidah Welfare Complex, Kuala Baram where school children are expected to return to this weekend.
So far, the department has recorded 426 cases of forest and peatland fires since Aug 1, with 1,231 hectares affected as of today.
Bomba is dealing with an average of 30 cases per day and the highest number received was 65 cases on Aug 12. — DayakDaily