PETALING JAYA: The peat fires that have been raging throughout peninsular Malaysia are the result of peat swamps being drained for agriculture and forestry purposes, said a Malaysia-based conservation group.
Global Environment Centre director Faizal Parish said in draining the water, especially during the dry season, the water table would be lowered, causing the swamps to dry out and become more vulnerable to fire.
The majority of forest fires in Malaysia over the past
10 years have been in peat areas.
In almost all of these cases, the fires burnt in areas in which the peat had been drained for agriculture or forestry, he said in a statement.
Faizal also said that a regional El Nino that began in January was causing the current dry period.
He said better water management and improved fire detection as well as control measures would have prevented the fires.