Brunei — Bandar Seri Begawan – The Forestry Department is considering building more recreational parks at fire-prone areas as one of the ways to counter the occurrence of forest and bush fires, following the example of the new Berakas Forest Recreational Park which was launched yesterday.
During the World Forestry Day celebration, Acting Director of Forestry Department Mahmud Hj Yussof shared that the area of newly-opened Berakas Forest Recreational Park at the Berakas Forest Reserve was previously prone to bush and forest fires.
“Based on our experience, this area is prone to forest fires so one of our strategic (moves) to prevent the occurrence of forest fires within the area was by developing it so that we can monitor it all times and be able to prevent future occurrence (of forest fires),” he said. The acting director added that constructing a recreational park at fire-prone areas could create a “fire break”.
“By constructing roads and extra access roads, we are at the same time constructing ‘fire breaks’ so we can stop the fire from spreading to and from other sides of the forest, therefore saving a considerable portion of the forest itself,” explained Mahmud.
He further explained that the department took into consideration the possibility of a fire outbreak while laying out the access road for the new park as one of its strategic plan to combat fire occurrences in the area consider (constructing other recreational parks) if there is a need, but of course at the moment we’ll continue to upgrade the existing parks’ facilities and maintain them properly.
There’s no use in having quantity, we are focusing on quality at the parks,” Mahmud said, adding that any changes made to the park in the future should suit the public’s taste. Construction of new parks in the future should not only be aimed at preventing forest and bush fires, but also to promote the nation’s ecotourism, he said.
According to Noralinda Ibrahim, Head of Forestry Amenity and Ecotourism, the $800,000 Park, which began construction in 2008, covers an area of about two hectares. Among the facilities provided at the park include a jogging trek, reflexology trail, children’s playground and resting huts as well as an outdoor gym consisting of a pull-up bar, jump and touch beam, parallel bar, challenge ladder and sit-up bench.
The senior Forestry officer revealed however that the new park is not provided with rubbish bins as the department hopes to encourage visitors to the park to be more responsible for their own rubbish by providing their own means of getting rid of their litter.
“We would like to create awareness among the public on the importance of preserving nature and our environment,” Noralinda stressed. Head of Enforcement and Budget Division at the Forestry Department, Md Safwan Abdullah, said that littering at the park is considered an offence and heavy fines will be imposed on violators as stipulated in Section 26b(2) of the Forest Act (amendment) Order 2007.
Under the Act, anyone found guilty of committing the offence will be liable to a conviction of a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.