Malaysia: All fire departments on high alert for open-burning activities

Bernama New Straits Times 22 Jul 18;

MARANG: The Fire and Rescue Department has urged all fire departments in the country to heighten its monitoring of open-burning activities to prevent cases of forest fires during this dry season.

Department director Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said West Coast states and Sarawak are currently experiencing a prolonged dry spell with soaring temperatures, which elevates the risk of forest fires, as evidenced recently in Sarawak.

“We plan for this every year. This is because each time a drought strikes, two crises will emerge - a water crisis as well as open-burning, which can lead to the haze.

“There are many forest reserves and large plantations such as oil palm plantations in Sarawak which could be involved in open-burning activities. We are asking them to be on the lookout for such incidences,” he said.

Hamdan was speaking to reporters after the Fire and Rescue Science Certification Course Series 1/2018a at the Fire and Rescue Academy (Eastern Region) on Sunday.

A total of 120 trainees, including a female Orang Asli, received their certificates after completing the four-and-a-half month course.

Touching on the department’s investigation into the fire at the Kemaman Bitumen Company (KBC) plant on July 5, he said the investigation could take some time as lots of evidence were destroyed in the fire.

He said the department’s forensic team are still analysing the cause of the fire. A full report will be tabled to the relevant authorities, including the insurance company.

“If there is any evidence of neglect, we will study it from a legal standpoint. If there are any breaches, we will act in accordance with the law,” he said. — BERNAMA