MALAYSIA — An estimated 25ha of secondary forest at Besout 5 was destroyed by peat fires some 50km from here.
Firemen, who have been fighting the fires since Saturday, had an arduous time as the burning peat was at least 1.6 metres below ground level.
Smoke from the peat fires was first spotted by DOE officials on Aug 10, who were on checks for open burning in the area.
A total of 35 firemen from the Tapah, Bidor, Slim River, Tanjung Malim and Teluk Intan fire stations have been deployed.
Besout 5, which covers 300ha, is part of the 1,200ha agricultural land belonging to the Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC).
SADC had appointed Kiara Jubli Estet to clear the land for oil palm.
Fire and Rescue coordinating officer (Tapah zone) Jaffar Sidek Ali, who is in charge of the operations said so far, firemen have doused 20ha of smouldering peat fires but some five hectares are still burning.
Jaffar said the “flooding” technique had been used to douse the fires because they were underground and could spread easily.