Malaysia set to fight peat fires

PUTRAJAYA - Water relay pumping systems and jet shooters, bumby bucket or water bombing from helicopters are among the measures listed in a new standard operating procedure (SOP) drawn up to fight forest, bush and peat soil fires.

The SOP details the working strategies for different departments in handling fires at the district, state and national levels.

"We will use helicopters and water bombing to put out forest fires that are too deep to reach," said Fire and Rescue Department deputy director-general Datuk Soiman Jahid.

"We have already done course training with our officers," he said at his office yesterday.

"Our vehicles and equipment have been readied and we also held meetings with different agencies to make sure everyone knows what they need to do. We're all prepared."

Soiman added that the department would also launch a 24-hour operations room dedicated to fighting fires when the need arises.

Soiman said the department had extinguished six peat soil fires in Selangor recently.

According to its statistics, there were 611 forest fires in the first two weeks of June, almost double the number in May.

The department has identified 14 high-risk areas susceptible to fires during the four-month westerly monsoon season beginning in early June.

They include the Selangor Agricultural Development Cor­poration land and Raja Musa forest reserve in Bestari Jaya, Johan Setia in Andalas, Pulau Kempas in Banting, Parit Haji Dorani and Sungai Panjang in Sungai Besar and Kuala Langat forest reserve in Dengkil.

The others are Jalan Miri to Kuala Baram in Sarawak, Kampung Luagan, Kampung Lumat and Kampung Nukahan in Beaufort and Binsuluk forest reserve in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Kampung Krupal in Rompin, Pahang, and Gunung Besout in Slim River, Perak.

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