Malaysia — Police were forced to close the Kuantan-Pekan stretch near Penor here for almost an hour today after thick smoke from a bush fire blanketed the area.
Due to poor visibility, policemen decided to close the dual carriageway to all vehicles and the move resulted in a three kilometre bumper to bumper crawl before the stretch was reopened at about 7pm when the situation improved.
The fire, sparked by the hot spell, is believed to have started from a forest near the Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom Children’s Home here,
The billowing smoke, which could be seen about 20km away from the scene had reduced visibility to less than 15m.
Taman Tas Fire and Rescue department chief, Suffian Mohd said the department received a distress call at 2.30pm, and 20 firemen along with two engines from the Taman Tas and Indera Mahkota stations were deployed to the scene.
“Upon arriving at the scene, we realised some 10 hectares of land were covered in thick smoke and fire. We managed to control the fire within two hours and prevent it from spreading to the children’s home.
“Our focus was the children’s home as the sparks from the fire might pose a danger to the residents living in the premises. So far, we have only managed to control the fire and have yet to put it out completely as the surrounding area was too dark,” he said, adding that fire and rescue personnel would be stationed at the area to monitor the situation.