Malaysia: More than 1,000 open burning cases recorded in Sabah this year

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR New Straits Times 16 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 1,164 cases of open burning were recorded in Sabah from Jan 17 to March 13 this year. U

rban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan the cases are expected to rise following the El Nino phenomenon, which is expected to last until the end of this month.

“In January alone, 188 cases of open burning were reported, compared to 14 cases in the same month last year.

A total of 541 open burning were recorded in February this year compared to 205 cases for the same month last year.

“From March 1 to 13, there were already 435 open burning cases. Last year, 853 cases were reported throughout March.

“From the statistics, bush fires recorded the highest cases with 47 cases and farm fires with 13 cases,” he said in a statement today.

Rahman, who is also Kota Belud member of parliament, said the most affected areas include Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Papar, Keningau and Tuaran.

On March 12, the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department received the most number of emergency calls on open fires with 60 cases.

“The latest case was in Kampung Bunang near the Mini Estet Sejahtera Bunang in Keningau district where open fires destroyed 500 hectares of forest.

“The blaze could not be controlled as the firemen had difficulty accessing the area, compounded by a lack of water sources.

The team received assistance from the Air Unit in the firefighting operation.” he said.

The public, especially those living in rural areas, are urged to cooperate with the firemen and not to throw their cigarette butts into open areas.


People in fire-prone areas get warning on open burning
The Star 17 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: The Fire and Rescue Department has cautioned people against open burning in the five most fire-prone forest areas in the country.

Assistant director-general of fire and rescue operations Zulkarnain Mohd Kassim said that “in most cases, the main reason for the fires is forest clearing”.

“It is largely the people, not the heatwave, that is to blame for any fires breaking out this season.”

The fire-prone areas are Kam­pung Sri Gombak Indah, Batu Caves, and Sungai Tinggi, both in Selangor; the North-South Express­way Central Link; Bunang, Keningau, in Sabah; and Baling in Kedah.

Zulkarnain said if there was any open burning that could not be avoided, it must be done on a moderate scale. “And don’t leave the area until you have seen the last spark snuffed out,” he said.

According to him, there were fewer cases of forest fires this year.There were 6,893 cases from January to March, compared to 23,253 cases in 2014 and 11,706 last year during the same period, he said.

He added that the department had sufficient manpower to handle any fires that may break out.

It was also running awareness campaigns to educate people against using fire to clear their land.

Forest fire prevention measures and fire safety tips are available at its website, www.bomba.gov.my.

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