Malaysia — Bush and peat fires along Jalan Kuantan-Pekan here, compounded by the prolonged hot and dry spell, led to haze shrouding the Pekan town this morning.
Visibility along the stretch including near the Pekan bridge and Penor Prison complex was poor prompting police personnel to advise motorist to switch on their headlights, to avoid any untoward incidents.
The Abu Bakar bridge across Sungai Pekan was almost non-existent in the morning after the entire area was blanketed by thick haze before the situation improved about 11am.
A spokesperson from the state Environment Department said bush and peat fires along the stretch, which began last month, had contributed to the sudden thick haze before the change in wind patterns helped to clear the smoke.
“There has been reports of several new spots of bush fire along the Kuantan-Pekan stretch and the road was even closed twice to all vehicles after peat fires affected the visibility.
“Firemen have been working tirelessly since last month to put out the forest fires. It has been some time since it rained and we hope this dry spell will come to an end soon,” he said today.
On March 10, nine vehicles were involved in pile-up when a lorry laden with oil palm fruits crashed into several cars after the stretch was enveloped by thick smoke.
The fire,sparked by the hot spell started from a forest near the Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom Children’s Home in Penor here on Feb 26.
Meanwhile, Pahang education director Rosdi Ismail said schools had been advised to cancel or postpone outdoor activities if the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading exceeds 100.
He said the department would monitor the situation based on the daily API readings and to date, no schools were affected.
A spokesperson from the State Health Department has advised the public, especially those prone to asthma and breathing difficulties, to start wearing face mask when leaving their homes and consume lots of water during this period.