Tuesday, March 2

Lee warns against recurrence of peat soil fires

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MIRI: Relevant agencies here are urged to be well prepared for any occurrence of peat soil fires as the city expects to be hit by a long dry spell starting next month until September this year.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin wants the bush fire prevention taskforce here to take early preventive measures against possible outbreak of peat soil fires.

Speaking to the media after chairing a meeting on bush fire prevention at Miri Islamic Complex yesterday. Lee who is also Senadin assemblyman said based on Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) report, peat soil fires which contributed to haze normally occurs between February and August.

“Now, there is already a standard operation procedure (SOP) to handle bush fires in peat soil.

“Thus, we need to exercise the SOP by conducting early prevention efforts. However, there will be some adjustments to the SOP to suit the local condition.”

He wanted the relevant agencies such as Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Bomba, Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia (JMG), and Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to give their total commitment in the bush fire prevention works.

“We must ensure all the fire breaks, check dam and the tube well are working well. The private land owners must also give the same commitment by ensuring no encroachment and illegal open burning activities to be conducted on their land.”

Apart from the conventional patrolling, he also wanted the relevant authorities to use technology such as drones for aerial surveillance.

In addition, Lee wanted the taskforce to propose for the  building of more fire breaks at the bush-fire prone areas in the city.

Earlier, he was briefed on the latest efforts done by respective agencies on early bush fire prevention works.

The representative from JMG said that a total of 10 tube wells and 27 check dams have been built in selected areas in the city.

Also present was Miri Resident Sherrina Hussain.