Over 70 hectares of peatlands in Pahang on fire

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KUANTAN, April 8 — It is estimated that over 70 hectares of peatlands near Sungai Ular here are on fire, believed due to the El-Nino phenomenon.

Pahang Fire and Rescue Department operation officer Ashrul Riezal Asbar said the fire broke out last Sunday and was detected by a team of firemen who were carrying out monitoring activities in areas prone to open-burning incidents.

“The peat fires involve over 70-hectare areas behind the Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy and only a kilometre away from people’s houses in Kampung Sungai Ular.

“We have deployed 20 fire fighters from Gebeng to put out the peat fires and monitor the area around the clock to prevent the fire from spreading into the village area,” he told reporters at the scene.

Bernama check found that clouds of black smoke could be seen from as far as seven kilometres away, which had also caused poor visibility to road users heading to Kemanan and Kuantan Port.

In KEPALA BATAS, over 8,500 hectares of padi fields in Penang had dried up due to the El Nino phenomenon, hence prompting approximately 50,000 farmers in the state to reschedule their padi planting activity.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department was reported to have begun sending water supply to 3,328 hectares of padi fields to enable the farmers to prepare for the new padi planting season, which was supposed to begin last month.

Penang Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin the whole padi cultivation area, especially in Seberang Perai Utara, was expected to get their water supply by May the latest.

He said the state government was also prepared to collaborate with the federal government to conduct cloud seeding operation, especially in Baling, Sik and Kuala Muda. — Bernama

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