KOTA KINABALU, Feb 23 — Extreme hot weather and drought, and deliberate burning of forests to open up new areas are among the main causes of the increase in forest, plantation, farm and bush fires in Sabah this month.

The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) in a statement today said a total of 277 cases of fire under this category were recorded this month as at yesterday (February 22), a very high figure compared to 76 cases of the same type of fire throughout last month.

“Bush and weed fires are the highest this month with 189 cases, followed by forest fires with 75 cases, and garden and farm fires with 13 cases. All of these fire cases recorded an increase compared to the same fire last month.

“People are advised not to cause or start any open burning activities at any time especially during extreme heat and drought,” said the statement here today.

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The offence of committing open burning can be subject to a maximum compound of RM2,000 per offence, and legal action including a fine of up to RM500,000 or five years in prison or both if convicted.

The public can report cases of open burning to JBPM at 999 or the Department of Environment at 1-800-88-2727. — Bernama

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