Dry spell causes bush fires to surge to record numbers

 Dry spell causes bush fires to surge to record numbers

16 February 2009

published by www.channelnewsasia.com

Singapore — Singapore has recorded the highest number of vegetation fires in decades due to the dry spell.

In the first two weeks of this month, 106 fires have been recorded. This follows a record 182 in January, well above the average of 26 cases for the month over the past decade.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has described this as unprecedented and said it is installing dry hydrant systems to provide water supply in areas with dry vegetation like Tampines and Fort Road.

Smoke from these vegetation fires has contributed to the particle build-up in the air, resulting in Singapore experiencing slightly hazy conditions since last Friday.

The weak winds have also contributed to the bleary conditions, as they are unable to blow the smoke particles away.

The National Environment Agency said Singapore’s 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) crept up to the “moderate” range of between 53 and 57 over the weekend, rising from the “good” range the week before.

The haze is leaving many Singaporeans hot under the collar.

“Even at night, it’s really hot, even turning on the air-con doesn’t help,” said a member of the public.

“Exercise is out of the question, movements out in the open are restricted,” said another.

“I couldn’t breathe. I’ve been coughing, because I’m quite allergic to the haze,” said a third.

“Even the poor doggies at home” are feeling the heat, said a fourth.

The haziness and hot weather is expected to persist over the next three days, as wind conditions continue to be light.

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