SYLVIA LOOI New Straits Times 1 Mar 16;
IPOH: Around 10 hectares of forest near Kampung Raja in Cameron Highlands is currently in flames.
A Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said a distress call was received at 1.47pm today over the fire that occurred at KM45 of Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands.
"When we arrived, the fire had spread.
Strong winds blowing at the area made our rescue operations difficult," he said, adding that the site was located 150m above sea level.
Seven Orang Asli, said the spokesman, also rendered their services during the operations.
"Communications in the area was poor making it difficult for us to get information on the rescue operations," said the spokesman.
He noted that firemen are still at the site to ensure the fire does not spread further.
Hillside forest catches fire in Perak
IVAN LOH The Star 29 Feb 16;
IPOH: Some 10ha of hillside forest near KM45 of Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands caught fire.
Receiving a distress call at about 1.45am Monday, the Fire and Rescue Department rushed to the site near Kampung Raja to put out the blaze.
However, a department spokesman said firemen were having trouble putting out the fire due to strong winds.
"We are also having difficulties with the hilly terrain.
"The affected area is about 152m from the foot of the hill," the spokesman said.
All personnel from the Simpang Pulai fire station have been deployed to the site, led by its chief Rozmi Che Hamat.
About seven orang asli were also involved.
Firemen halted its operation at 11pm, but would continue to monitor the situation.
Fire and Rescue Department monitoring current dry spell
ROYCE TAN The Star 1 Mar 16;
PETALING JAYA: The Fire and Rescue Department is keeping close tabs with the Malaysian Meteorological Department on the dry spell.
Its director-general Datuk Wira Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said it was just the early stage of the dry season and it was not expected to last long.
“There are a few occurrences of forest fires but it is not that serious.
“We have enough personnel to face any situation. We’re monitoring closely.
“If the situation becomes more serious, I will get the personnel nationwide to be on standby and maybe we will even freeze their leave until everything is under control,” he said yesterday, adding that there were around 14,000 firemen in service nationwide.
In terms of equipment, Wan Mohd Noor said the department was also well prepared with additional pumps, hoses, generator sets and lighting systems purchased last year.
He advised members of the public to stop open burning and smokers not to simply throw their cigarette butts.
“A fire will not start by itself. Most of the time it is due to human activities.
“The fire spreads really fast during this season especially so let’s be more responsible to prevent this from happening,” he said.
On Sunday, The Star reported that the country’s fire alert map was covered almost entirely in red – the highest warning – for the coming days.
A map of the Malaysia Fire Danger Rating System, under the “Fine Fuel Moisture Code”, has nearly all parts of the peninsula in red, with the exception of a few places, including Kuching, which ironically, is currently hit by floods.
Although there may be occasional rains, these are not heavy enough in the dry season.
Red represents extreme ease of ignition and flammability of grasslands and bushes.
Large portions of Sarawak and Sabah are now also covered in red on the map.
Only a few parts of the peninsula’s east coast, south of Sarawak and northern Sabah are spared.
State dept freezes all leave for firefighters
The Star 1 Mar 16;
KOTA KINABALU: The leave of 900 firefighters in Sabah has been frozen in light of the spike in open burning throughout the state due to the ongoing dry weather.
The number of open burning incidents – including forest and bush fires – had jumped from 188 in January to 431 between Feb 1 and Feb 24, said state Fire and Rescue Services Department director Nordin Pauzi.
According to the department’s statistics, the highest number of calls on open burning were in the west coast Papar and interior Keningau districts totalling 66 and 65 respectively in February.
The department also responded to 41 calls on open burning within the Kota Kinabalu area during the same period, 39 calls in Penampang and 36 reports in Papar.
“The open burning around Kota Kinabalu and Penampang are usually near housing area while those in Papar and Keningau are adjacent to farms,” Nordin added.
He said most of the open burning in Sabah comprised bush fires totalling 218 in February, forest (150) and illegal waste burning (14).
The Meteorological Services Department had classified large swathes of Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula as being susceptible to grasslands and bush fires due to the dry weather.
Firemen, Orang Asli bring Cameron Highlands forest fire under control
SERI NOR NADIAH KORIS New Straits Times 1 Mar 16;
IPOH: A round-the-clock effort by firemen and Orang Asli volunteers finally brought a raging fire at a 10-hectare forested area near Kampung Raja, Cameron Highlands under control this morning.
A Simpang Pulai Fire and Rescue Department spokesman today confirmed that the team had successfully completed their task at 11am today.
He said 12 firemen were sent to the scene after they received the information on the forest fire about 2pm yesterday.
He said, with help from seven Orang Asli volunteers, the team managed to control the fire from spreading further about 9pm.
"Our team has checked the area again at 10.15am today and they were satisfied that the fire had been totally put out.”
SYLVIA LOOI New Straits Times 1 Mar 16;