Peat fire razes 420 ha of forest near Kuantan, firemen still battling blaze

Bernama | 25 Apr 2019


KUANTAN (Bernama): A peat soil forest fire near the Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy (AMSAS) in Sungai Ular here razed 420ha of forest Thursday (April 25), compared to 40ha last week.

Pahang Fire and Rescue Department director Nor Hisham Mohammad said the absence of an entry road, limited water source, and wind movements were among the difficulties faced by the department in an operation to douse the fire.

He said that, other than AMSAS, two other areas were affected by thick smoke from the fire – the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and Sungai Bagging here.

“The main focus in the operation to put out the fire is in the Sungai Bagging area because there are a school and housing estate where the air pollutant index (API) is touching 300, namely, not healthy.

‘’We are aware this has caused anxiety among the residents. The effort to put out the fire is being actively carried out including by using the helicopter for water bombings,” he told reporters after viewing the operation to put out the fire here Thursday.

Nor Hisham said a Mi-17-IV helicopter from the department’s air unit today conducted 15 trips involving 1,600 to 2,500 liters of water each time.

He said the fire, which was detected from April 15 was believed to have been triggered by open burning at the center of the forest.