Peat Fires in Brunei Darussalam

PeatFires in Brunei Darussalam

06 May 2005

Various reports reached the GFMC during the last days about excessive peat fires burning in the border region of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. Unfortunately we can not provide a satellite scene of the region at this time.


Latest Media News from the Region: 


Fires Destroy 52 Hectares Of Land In Past Week
Bandar Seri Begawan – Amid the dry season, the Fire Services Department received numerous calls regarding forest and bush fires that are causing a slight haze in the country.
The majority of the fires occurred in Brunei-Muara District.’ The department revealed that from April 26 to May 2, 32 calls were received in Brunei-Muara District, 10 calls in Tutong District, five in Belait District and two in Temburong. In total, over 52 hectares of land have been destroyed by the fires.
Meanwhile, the sudden downpour yesterday helped clear the skies of the slight haze.
A joint operation by various agencies to water bomb the persistent peat fires along the Seria bypass was carried out on Tuesday.
The peat fires along the Mumong Seria bypass on Tuesday created a thick wall of smoke that reduced visibility in the area to almost zero.
The slight haze experienced by Brunei was also caused by a change in wind direction last fortnight which blew some of the smoke from bush fires in Miri and Kuala Baram to Brunei. — Source: 


Peat fires flare up again
MIRI: Wildfires have flared up again in more than 300ha of peat swamps and forests near the Sarawak-Brunei border, and are said to be worse than those last week. 
Fires are raging in three different areas in the forest inn Kuala Baram district, some 40km from Miri town yesterday morning, creating haze. 
One is near the Sarawak-Brunei trans-boundary bridge. 
Miri Division fire chief Awang Mohd Farbu said the fires were very big, with one estimated to cover at least 200ha. 
”These fires are worse than those last week. There were six sectors on fire last week and we managed to douse all. 
“We don’t know how these new fires started but we have rushed all available firemen and volunteers to the sites,” he said. 
The fires so upset Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang that while speaking at a function at the Curtin University of Technology Sarawak campus, he looked out the window and said: 
“I am very unhappy with this haze. 
“It has become quite common nowadays. I don’t know whether these fires were started intentionally. The relevant authorities must find out, and think how to stop these fires.” 
The fires are quite close to the campus. 
Alfred Jabu recalled that in 1998, the haze that enveloped Sarawak resulted in the state being placed under a state of (health) emergency. 
“We need to find new measures to stop peat fires, which can burn underground. This is going to be a new challenge for us,” he stressed. 
A check by The Star at the fire sites found officials from the Sarawak Natural Resource and Environment Board, the Department of Environment, the Public Works Department and private agencies trying to create access paths to the burning sites. 
The fires are in areas more than 5km from the nearest road. — Source: 


Peat fires spreading fast near border with Brunei
KUALA BARAM: Peat fires are spreading at a worrying pace near the Sarawak-Brunei border, and have ravaged over 250ha of forests, or roughly the size of 1,000 football fields. 
Fire-fighting volunteers from developer Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd had been called in to assist firemen to contain the fires. 
Most of these fires are burning in peat swamps located far away from the main highway and in areas difficult for fire engines to reach. 
A check by The Star showed a big fire burning in a jungle next to the Miri Go-Kart Stadium, about 35km from the town centre. 
Personnel trying to tackle the fires had to wear masks, a scene that has become quite common in Miri in recent years. 
A company official, who entered the burning sites using a four-wheel-drive vehicle, said the situation was worrying because the fires were “all over the place, not just confined to a certain location.” 
“The fires are spreading fast. It is not possible to reach some locations because of difficult conditions,” he said. 
Fires were also found in areas near the Sarawak-Brunei trans-boundary bridge near the Sungai Tujuh Immigration and Customs Checkpoint. 
Miri Divisional Disaster Relief Committee chairman Ose Murang, who is Miri Resident, has called for an urgent meeting of senior officers of the Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board, Department of Environment, Miri Municipal Council, Fire and Rescue Department and various agencies to discuss the latest situation. 
“We have issued directives to investigate anyone seen encroaching into jungles, as they may be the main culprits behind the fires. 
“More than 250ha of land is burning. Up till (yesterday), we managed to control the fires in about 80ha (of land). The Miri Fire Department is facing problems in terms of shortage of water-pumps,” he said. 
“We may have to seek help from outside. We will also be seeking the help of Shell and Petronas to fight the fires.” 
The state Fire and Rescue Department had deployed about 30 fire-fighting teams to Kuala Baram and Lambir districts, about 20km south of Miri, as the weather in northern Sarawak was getting increasingly dry. — Source: 


See also earlier comprehensive daily GFMC updates of the same region:

Further information: 

  • Regional South East Asia Wildland Fire Network

  • IFFN Country Notes

  • The ASEAN Haze Action Online provides the following information:

    • Monitoring: Hyperlinks to institutions involved in regional monitoring and prediction of fire and smoke haze

    • Haze News: ASEAN Transboundary Haze Update (updated daily)

    • Intranet: Information and possible participation in the ASEAN Haze Action Online Intranet Information Services (for associated registered participants)

    • Mobilization Plan: Model Fire Suppression Mobilization Plan

    • Inventory: Inventory and analysis of forest and land fire suppression capabilities

    • Haze Forum: Communication platform on fire and smoke-haze issues in the ASEAN region

    • Calendar: Fire and haze-related events can be identified by a search modus

  • Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics


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