Malaysia — The almost two-fold increase in the number of bush and jungle fires in Sabah raised the total number of fires in the state last year to 2,184, up from 1,459 in 2009.
Sabah Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman said that though there was a slight drop, from 369 to 366, in the number of building fires last year, the number of fires categorised under bush/jungle, vehicle, farm/plantations, forest and such rose from 1,090 in 2009 to 1,818 last year.
“This rise in the statistics is unexpected, such as that involving bush/jungle fires which shot up from 685 cases in 2009 to 1,217 in 2010,” he said, explaining that the situation might be due to unavoidable natural causes or the weather.
Forest fires had more than doubled, with 248 cases compared to 99 cases in 2009, while fires involving farms/plantations increased from 18 in 2009 to 70 last year, he said after the department’s 2011 oath-taking ceremony at the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department headquarters here.
The estimated loss from fires last year dropped to RM17.52 million compared to RM78.81 million in 2009, he said.
“We are disappointed that deaths caused by fires showed a slight increase, from 13 to 15, last year,” he said.