Malaysia — Twelve forest fires involving a total area of 514.8 hectares were reported nationwide so far this year.
Fire and Rescue Department operations management centre Senior Superintendent Yusri Basir said 382 firemen with assistance from members of the public put out fires that ravaged 425 hectares of forests during the period.
“With five cases, Pahang recorded the most number of such fires involving 23.8 hectares at the Sungai Endau Plantation and the forest in Kampung Raja, Cameron Highlands.
“However, Terengganu was affected over an area of 384.5 hectares including peat fires at Kampung Bahagia, Tok Kah in Dungun on Jan 25,” he said when contacted by Bernama here.
He said the fires detected in plantations, forest, landfills, peat swamps and hills were extinguished using 27 water pumps as well as 36 fire engines.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment (DOE) said in its website that it had activated its Open Burning Prevention Action Plan in all states.
Apart from that, DOE is also gearing up withs its Operation Standard Operating Procedures to prevent and control sources of peat fires which contribute to poor air quality and haze.
DOE also is clamping down on emission by motorised vehicles and the industries.
Parties found carrying out open buring could be fined a maximum of RM500,000 or jailed five years or both if convicted under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.