Penang Hill, Gambir blazes doused

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia - After four agonising days, firefighters have put out all bush fires on Penang Hill.

The state's Fire and Rescue Department, however, is still on stand by for any recurrence of bush fires, which had flared up at six hot spots on Penang Hill and Bukit Gambir.

Department director Azmi Tamat said the two remaining hot spots on Penang Hill were put out yesterday, but the department would continue to monitor the situation.

"The firefighters will leave only once they are sure that the fire will no longer recur."

On Wednesday, bush fires occurred at the six spots -- 4 on Penang Hill and two on Bukit Gambir.

The flames raged partly due to the dry weather and limited water supply, which also hindered firefighters' efforts.

Firefighters used jet shooter water bags in the form of backpacks to douse the flames.

An aircraft from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency was also roped in for an aerial water bombing exercise.

By Friday, four of the six hot spots were extinguished.

Meanwhile, Azmi said there were some 900 cases of bush fires reported in the state in February alone, which is in contrast with 400 recorded cases in January.

"We received 30 to 40 calls every day.

"The majority of the bush fires occur on the mainland, especially in the Seberang Prai Utara and Seberang Prai Tengah districts."