Firefighters battling to contain wildfires, 70 hectares in Kuala Baram ravaged

Sulok Tawie
Firemen battle a wildfire in Pulau Bruit in Mukah August 10, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department

MIRI, Aug 11— Firefighters are battling to contain the spread of peat swamp fires which have ravaged over 70 hectares in Kuala Baram so far, resulting in air quality reaching hazardous level over the past two days.

A spokesman for the state Fire and Rescue Department said that firefighters have managed to extinguish about 30 hectares of peat swamp fires so far.

He said six hotspots have been detected in Kuala Baram, producing smog that have been blanketing Miri and the surrounding areas.

As of 10pm tonight the Air Pollutant Index (API) recorded at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri station was 392, down from 395 which was recorded this afternoon.

“Motorists traveling along the Kuala Baram highway at night are reminded to take extra precaution to avoid accidents from happening,” he said, adding that the highway is heavily blanked by haze, resulting in extremely poor visibility.

“Our priority is to contain the fires along this highway to increase visibility, especially at night,” he said.

The spokesman said the state fire department has received 50 reports of fire occurrences, including 26 bushfires, throughout the state as of 9.30pm today.

He said since August 1, the department has received 291 reports of fire occurrences, most of which are wildfires.

Meanwhile, State Assemblyman for Piasau Datuk Sebastian Ting said the state disaster management committee will meet on Wednesday on how to tackle the wildfires in Miri.

Piasau, one of the state constituencies under Miri parliamentary constituency, is badly affected by the haze.

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