Threatening Forest Fire In Seria Doused

Threatening ForestFire In Seria Doused

9 March 2007

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Brunei — The Seria FireStation was involved in a combined operation with British Army helicoptersoperating out of Seria to extinguish jungle fires that broke out Tuesdayafternoon.

The fires threatened to destroy the Badas WaterPumping Station that provides cooling water vital to the operation of the nearbyLumut Natural Gas facility.

The Seria Fire Station confirmed the fire but did notknow what caused it. The fires, however, were allegedly believed to have beenstarted by hunters operating in the area, according to a source at the BruneiGarrison.

The fires grew in intensity and were swept by the windtowards the pumping station. Another helicopter operating in the area that dayspotted smoke from the fires and informed the Shell Aviation Department atAnduki, which initiated the response.

Personnel from the Seria Fire Station were immediatelydispatched to the scene. They had difficulty reaching the spot because it wasaway from the road, which led them to seek the help of helicopters to tackle theblaze.

Maj Toby Jarvis, who is in command of the helicoptersat Seria, coordinated the operation. He said, “We received a call at around4pm and immediately tasked FB Heliservices who provide our ground support toprepare the aircraft and fit the Bambi bucket. The Bambi bucket is a collapsiblebucket slung below a helicopter, used to dip water from a variety of sources forfire.

“On this occasion the bucket was used to collectloads of around 1,000 litres of water from a nearby river and dispense themdirectly onto the fires that were threatening the pumping station. Due to theexcellent work of the ground staff the aircraft were airborne and over the fireswith their first consignment of water within an hour,” he added.

The helicopters continued to assist the fire brigadeby dropping over 20 buckets of water on the fires until around 7pm when the firedied down. The cooperation of both the fire brigade and the helicopters broughtabout a swift end to the situation that could have resulted in severe damage tothe pumping station, the operation of the gas facility and more importantlypossible loss of life.

According to the Seria Fire Station, fire brigadeswere still at the scene yesterday afternoon to ensure that the fire had dieddown completely.

The helicopter that took part in the fire fightingbelongs to 7 Flight Army Air Corp and is one of three Bell 212 helicoptersoperating out of their base in Seria. The helicopter was crewed by WarrantOfficer Jan Green, Sergeant Fisher and Lance Corporal Iliavi Tokalua.

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