Downpour helps put out last flame at ILP Miri

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Firefighters are seen putting out the remaining flames behind ILP Miri.

MIRI: Most of the forest and peat fires, which have destroyed nearly 1,500 hectares in Kuala Baram since Aug 1, have finally been doused – thanks to a combination of firefighting efforts and torrential rain yesterday morning.

Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Miri chief Law Poh Kiong, in a statement, said yesterday’s operation ended early at 4.30pm as the remaining fire on about 30 acres of peat land behind Miri Industrial Training Institute (ILP) had been extinguished.

“The team, which included Naim volunteers, was ordered to pack their equipment at 4.30pm as the fire behind ILP, which destroyed 100 acres on Saturday, had been put out.

“However, the Bomba team will continue to monitor and patrol the area to ensure that there will be no new hotspots,” he said.

Heavy rain since yesterday morning brought relief to the firefighting teams, who had been on the ground since

Aug 1 to put out the remaining fires over Kuala Baram.

The two-hour downpour began around 7.30am behind ILP Miri, where the teams were tasked with putting out the remaining small pockets of fire from their previous operation.

Despite the success, the air quality here continued to worsen yesterday with the Air Pollutant Index (API) monitoring station at ILP Miri recording a hazardous reading of 364, as at 5pm.

The reading was initially only 190, as at 8pm on Saturday, before spiking to 286 three hours later, and to 353 at midnight.

At 6am yesterday, it reached 415 – the highest reading recorded so far – before gradually dropping the rest of the day.

Another station at SK Kuala Baram 2 also recorded unhealthy air quality yesterday with a reading of 195 as at 5pm, while the station in Miri maintained moderate air quality, at 64.