Malaysia: Forest fires raging in northern Sarawak

STEPHEN THEN The Star 21 Feb 16;

MIRI: Wildfires have razed an area the size of 200 football fields in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak the past few days.

Two huge fires are still raging near populated residential estates.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the department carried out 30 rounds of aerial water bombing Sunday morning but strong winds were not doing much to help.

"The wildfires have turned into forest fires and since the smoke is very thick and dense we have to halt the water bombings for now. This morning we carried out 30 rounds of bombing," he said.

The cause of the latest forest fires are being investigated but northern Sarawak is now hit by a very hot spell.

Forest fires in Sarawak rage on, Kuala Baram records hazardous API reading
STEPHEN THEN The Star 22 Feb 16;

MIRI: The Air Pollutant Index in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak hit hazardous levels on Monday, with a reading of 334 at 9am, as forest fires rage on.

Big fires close to the Industrial Training Institute here have resulted in dense smoke that has been carried by strong winds even into Miri City, some 20km away.

State Communications Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin told The Star that the fires are very near to the API station operated by the Department of Environment.

“The areas affected by the dense smoke are recording high API readings.

“Fire fighters are on the ground doing all they can to control the flames,” he said.

An area the size of 200 football fields has already been scorched and now there are two huge fires still raging near populated residential estates.

Miri fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the department will resume aerial water bombings Monday with helicopters.

The department has already carried out 60 rounds of aerial water bombings over the past 48 hours but the fires have grown to at least one square km in size due to strong winds.

The cause of the latest forest fires is still being investigated.

Northern Sarawak is presently in the midst of a very hot spell.

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