KUCHING: Preparations by the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department to face possible drought in the state always starts after the Chap Goh Mei celebration every year, as that is the transition between the end of the monsoon period and the beginning of the wet season, said its director, Nor Hisham Mohammad.
He said in Sarawak, the areas of concern is in Miri, where the dry weather often causes forest fires that are quite difficult to control, especially in peat soil areas.
During this period, he said, the department would step up field monitoring, as well as work closely with other agencies to ensure early detection of every case of forest fire so that swift action could be taken to prevent the situation from becoming serious.
He said the department would study the pattern of fire cases during this period, when the operations room would be opened if there are more than 20 fire cases in a day. The highest cases recorded so far in a day was 62 cases in 2015, he added.
Nor Hisham said this in response to a statement by Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas recently that the drought is predicted to hit Sarawak between May and September this year, with Miri, Betong and Mukah expected to be most affected.
Douglas, who is also State Disaster Management Committee chairman, said all government assets should step up preparations, including to ensure sufficient logistics to send water supply and food to areas that would be hit by the drought.
Nor Hisham said the department had a standard operating procedure (SOP) to handle fire cases in Miri as the division often recorded increase in the number of cases during the dry season.
He said during the dry season, the number of personnel at the field would be increased and the department would also enhance its air surveillance.
“If a fire is detected in plantations, normally, we will inform the management of the plantations concerned because plantations have their own firefighting squad,” he added. — Bernama
Source: The Borneo Post
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