Dry spell sparks bush fires on Penang Hill

GEORGE TOWN - The dry spell has sparked bush fires at several spots on Penang Hill.

Smoke is visible from afar, as scores of firemen divide into small groups to battle the blaze in multiple areas.

The fire started on Monday evening and, as of yesterday, firemen were still battling to put out the flames.

Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (enforcement) Nuzaiham Abu Hassan told the New Straits Times that the situation was under control.

"Firemen are having a hard time dousing the flames because of the difficulty in getting access to the burning areas and limited water supply.

"But, we prevented the blaze from spreading to other parts on the hill."

Police have sealed off the tracks from the Penang Botanical Garden and Youth Park that lead up to the hill.

A light aircraft from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency was deployed to monitor the bush fires.

Bush fires were also spotted in Bukit Gambier, Air Itam, since Monday evening.

Fire volunteer reserve units joined firemen in continuous operations to battle the flames in hilly areas across the state.

Nuzaiham said up to 50 distress calls on bush fires had been reported this month.

"Emergency calls have been coming in regularly from midnight until now."

He said most bush fires were reported in Seberang Prai, Balik Pulau, Bayan Lepas and Paya Terubong.