Authority believes open burning among causes of Binsuluk forest fire

File picture of firefighters battling peat land fire at Kuala Langat March 3, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
File picture of firefighters battling peat land fire at Kuala Langat March 3, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KOTA KINABALU, March 29 — The authority believes fire at Binsuluk Forest Reserve near here to have started from fishing and open burning activities.

Sabah chief conservator of forest Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini said as at March 27 (Friday), a total of 274 hectares of the forest had been destroyed by the fire that started on March 21.

“Efforts to control and extinguish fires are ongoing but challenging as it is difficult to see the underground peat fires.

“Underground fires will spread slowly and release continuous thick smoke until the peatland burns out if not extinguished,” he said in a statement today.

He also said there was no access road to the area and the department’s personnel had to carry all equipment including water pumps on foot for two kilometres to the location, besides having to deal with limited water sources due to the prolonged dry spell.

Mashor said the operation involved 24 personnel and is assisted by Beaufort Fire and Rescue Station, Department of Environment and Meteorological Department.

“Our operation managed to contain the fire from spreading further to a bigger area,” he said.

He also reminded the locals not to carry out open burning activity during the dry season.

Under Section 19 of the Forest Enactment 1968, an individual who is found guilty for causing a fire in forest reserves is liable to be jailed for seven years or fined of no more than RM100,000 or both. — Bernama

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