Brunei Darussalam –-Tutong – A major bushfire occurred yesterday afternoon at the swampy bush area in Serambangun, Tutong.
The bushfire which occurred around 5pm near the Tutong Public Works Office destroyed a vast area.
The fire caused part of the nearby Muara-Tutong Highway area to be covered in smoke.
A team of firefighters and a fire engine from Tutong Fire Station were rushed to the scene after receiving an emergency call from members of the public.
Upon arrival the firefighters had to take defensive action by dampening the bushes near two houses which were under threat of the rapidly spreading bushfire. They also had to work cautiously in the swamp.
According to one of the house owners near the bushfire, “The same area was gutted by a similar fire few years back. However this time we suspect the bush was lit as before the fire broke out we saw individuals acting suspiciously at the site. A few minutes later the fire broke out after they left.”
Similar forest and bushfires have also been reported at hills near Tutong Town, Sungai Liang and Lumut.
The Belait Fire and Rescue Department has estimated that 72.4 hectares of forest were destroyed in the continuous fires that broke out this month.
Assistant Superintendent Wan Juliani bin Ali Ibrahim, Operation ‘B’ Belait Branch Fire and Rescue Department Public Relations Officer, told the Borneo Bulletin Monday that there have been 49 fire breakouts which have burned over 70 hectares of forest in the district.
The worst-hit area in the district is Sungai Liang with 29 reported fires.
Other areas were Lorong Tiga Seria, Anduki, Kg Sungai Teraban, Sungai Liang Agriculture Department area, RPN Lumut and forest areas near Masjid Zainab Lumut.