Malaysia — Scores of firemen are still battling several peat soil and forest fires spanning over 156ha in Johor and Sabah. The fires broke out earlier in the month.
Fire and Rescue Department assistant director-general (operations) Amer Yusof said the peat soil fires in Johor involved an area of 130ha while 26ha of forest and bush fires had been detected in Sabah.
The affected areas in Johor are:
>108ha in Kg Seri Paya in Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi, which has been burning since Feb 4;
>15ha in Kg Baru Punggai in Teluk Ramunia, Penggerang, affected since Feb 12; and
>10ha in Kebun Felcra Kg Lepau
In Sabah, 22.6ha in Jalan Sepanggar, 2ha in Taman Putera Jaya and 1.6ha behind Hotel Berjaya Palace are affected.
Most of the fires in Johor and Sabah have been put out with only 7.6ha still burning, Amer said.
Nevertheless, we are still monitoring areas that have been doused to prevent any recur-rence, he said, adding that a total of 222 firemen were involved in fighting the fires.He said in Johor, the department was using two of its MI17 helicopters to conduct water bombings to douse the three major peat fires in the area.
He said firemen were also being assisted by 51 other agencies, with additional manpower deployed from Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Pahang.
Johor Fire and Rescue Depart-ment director Abdul Ghani Daud said the fires were caused by farmers who were clearing their land.