BRUNEI – THE Belait District recorded 137 calls on bush and grass fires from January to July this year, with 51 on bush fires and 86 on grass fires, according to the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD).
The Brunei-Muara District recorded 91 calls with 42 on bush fires and 49 on grass fires.
The Tutong District recorded 54 calls (23 on bush fires and 31 on grass fires) while the Temburong District recorded one call about a bush fire.
Overall, 117 calls were made on bush fires and 166 on grass fires across the four districts, with 10.03 hectares being affected by bush fires and 25.77 hectares by grass fires.
“During the period of hot and dry weather, bush and grass fires are quite common, contributing to the poor air quality and damage to the environment,” said the FRD in a statement.
“The poor air quality will then pose a risk to road users or air transportation due to the resulting thick smoke and haze.”
The FRD urged the public to refrain from open burning during the current dry spell, including the careless disposal of cigarette butts and unattended campfires at beaches or picnic spots.
It is an offence under the Fire Safety Order 2016 (FSO 2016) Section 2 (1) to pose a risk to life and property through acts of reckless burning.
Under Sections 56 (1) and 59, the penalty is a fine of BND1,000 to BND10,000, or a prison term of not more than six months, or both.
According to the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department (BDMD), the country is at the climax of the southwest monsoon, where the wind flow is generally from sea to land.
“Tropically, the conditions in the atmosphere are relatively stable with less rainfall. These conditions can cause an increase in air temperatures over 34 degrees Celsius, which is what we have been experiencing in recent days,” said the BDMD.
“The country also tends to experience hazy conditions due to the dry weather in the Southeast Asia region. The southwest monsoon will usually continue until September.”
Members of the public can contact the FRD at 995 or contact the Darussalam line at 123 to report bush and grass fires or cases of open burning.