Strong winds, dry spell hinder efforts to put out fire

Thick smoke detected near Hamidah Yakub Welfare Complex at Desa Indah 3. — Photos courtesy of Walter Gau

MIRI: Strong winds and dry spell since last week are hindering efforts by firefighters and volunteers here to douse the forest and peat soil fire raging in Kuala Baram, which as at 5pm yesterday had destroyed nearly 100 acres of land.

Map showing areas affected by the forest and peat soil fire.

Zone 6 Fire and Rescue station (Bomba) chief, Supt Law Poh Kiong, said 19 Bomba personnel including six members of its air unit and 11 volunteers from Naim Group of Companies had been fighting the fire – using both direct attack and water bombing – since 10am yesterday.

Firefighters doing direct attack of forest and peat soil fire currently raging Kuala Baram.

“The forest and peat soil fire had spread very fast due to the strong wind and dry weather, thus the team managed to put out the fire on only 12 acres of land today (Tuesday),” said Law in a statement.

The forest and peat soil fire was raging through four land lots in Kuala Baram; namely Lot 3709, Lot 4041, Lot 4042 and Lot 3709 near Desa Indah 3.

An aerial view of two spots with thick smoke in Kuala Baram at 5.30pm yesterday.

As of 3pm yesterday, Law said smoke could be seen billowing in 30 acres of an area in Lot 3709 while four acres were on fire.

As for Lot 4041, he said the smokes can be seen on 34 acres of peat soil land.

However, firefighters were struggling to get into Lot 4042 as it is far from the access road.

“In Lot 4042, smoke can be seen in a total of 10 acres while two acres are on fire but we are unable to reach the area due to the location,” said Law.

Meanwhile, the air unit, which was deployed to carry out water bombing, had carried out 24 sorties yesterday and managed to put out fire on five acres of land thus far.

Law said Bomba detected four hotspots in the area as at 3.30pm yesterday, and were making efforts to contain the fire.

The forest and peat soil fire was first detected on Aug 1 at Lot 4041. Strong winds and dry weather the past weeks caused the fire to spread to nearby land lots.

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