Malasya — KUALA SELANGOR: Residents here are working with an environmental group, the local council and state agency to prevent peat fires at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve.
One of the preventive measures is community fire patrolling by local community group Sahabat Hutan Gambut Selangor Utara.
The residents will work with the Global Environment Centre, Selangor Forestry Department and Kuala Selangor District Council to monitor the peat forest.
Last year, a significant portion of the forest was burnt during a prolonged drought between July and October, resulting in haze enveloping the area.
Government agencies spent days trying to put out the fires.
Themed No peat fire, no haze, the campaign aims to promote community-based peatland forest fire management and raise public awareness of the consequences of peat fires and possible preventive measures.
Selangor executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and environment Elizabeth Wong launched the campaign at the forest last Saturday in conjunction with World Wetlands Day 2013.
A fire-fighting demonstration was held during the launch to showcase current fire-fighting equipment and techniques to the public.
In addition, 300 volunteers from the public and private sector helped plant 500 Kelat paya and 500 Tenggek burung trees on two hectares of forest damaged by the fire last year.
Key funders for the rehabilitation and conservation efforts include the Selangor Forestry Department, the Global Environment Facility and the International Foundation for Agricultural Development through the ASEAN Peatland Forests Project, European Union, HSBC and Bridgestone Tyre Sales Sdn Bhd.
The Selangor government and 99Speedmart Sdn Bhd also contributed to the event.