Malaysia: Forest reserve ablaze again

Forest reserve ablaze again

19 March 2005

published by The Star Online


KLANG: The Selangor Fire and Rescue Department’s worst fear has become a reality – the Raja Muda Musa forest reserve is ablaze again.

And this has happened less than two weeks after the dousing of an earlier fire that had left parts of the state blanketed in smoke.

State assistant operations director Nor Hisham Mohd said firemen detected smoke in several spots in the forest during a periodical aerial surveillance on Wednesday.

“When the confirmation of fire came in, our hearts dropped. We had prayed this would not happen because it took so much effort to put out the last one,” he said yesterday.

According to him, the firemen found signs at some of the fire spots which strengthened the suspicion that the fires had been caused by people, most probably farmers trying to clear land for planting crops.

This had been a common reason for fires starting in bushes, peat swamps and jungles, especially during the height of the hot season.

Nor Hisham, however, said the fire this time around was much less intense and easier to handle than the previous one.

The last fire, detected on Feb 15, was classified as critical, needing inter-state deployment of 300 men working round-the-clock.

“The fire this time was contained on Thursday using 108 men deployed from all districts in the state.

“However, we remain on the alert as the fire is still moving,” he said.

Nor Hisham said there were at least five spots burning in the 44,488 sq km jungle.

One of the more serious spots, he added, was located just about 1km from the Selangor agro-tech area in Batang Berjuntai.

“Having assessed the situation, we have decided to put more men to control this fire to protect the agro-tech area,” he said.

Nor Hisham added that even after the previous fire was successfully extinguished, the department had continued to monitor the forest reserve and had assigned a team of about 60 men for this task. 


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