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PAHANG FOREST FIRE SITUATION EASES – JBPM

KUANTAN: The forest fire which involved three locations in the state since the end of March is easing with fire-fighting operations now focused on the Rompin area, said Pahang Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) director Datuk Dr Wan Mohammad Zaidi Wan Isa. He said the fire-fighting operation at the Inderapura Department of Agriculture area covering 320 hectares of peatland forest, was completed on Tuesday after more than 10 days of an uphill battle to douse the fire. He added that fire at the 110.5-hectare peatland forest in Gebeng was also easing as 99 per cent of it was successfully put out and the fire-fighting operation is expected to be completed today if no new fires occur. 'In Rompin, through an aerial survey, it was found that there is still a fire but not as big as before and we will use the water bomb and direct attack method today,' he told Bernama and TV3. He said that rain in Kuantan and Rompin districts since Tuesday also helped those involved in the operations who have been working hard for the past few weeks to douse fires in the three locations. Earlier, Bernama and TV3 had the opportunity to participate in an aerial survey with Pahang JBPM assistant director (Operations) Ismail Abdul Ghani onboard MI17 helicopter in the affected forest area of Inderapura and Gebeng. Two helicopters have been supplied by the Air Division of the JBPM headquarters following the visit of the Sultan of Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah who suggested the use of helicopters for water bomb operations to control fires from spreading in inaccessible areas. Sultan Abdullah, accompanied by his son Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, visited the Inderapura Jaya Fire control post on Monday to inspect and listen to a briefing on forest fires in the state. Monitoring and fire-fighting operations using MI17 helicopter led by assistant fire superintendent Amir Fitri Salim have been used since Wednesday to douse fires in Gebeng while the Agusta helicopter was used in Rompin a nd led by Khirulnizam Jamaludin. Wan Mohammad Zaidi said that despite the Aidilfitri celebration, JBPM continues to be committed to regularly monitoring the fire situation that occurs due to the prolonged hot and dry weather. 'There is no such thing as an Aidilfitri holiday for JBPM. However, we expect the community's cooperation not to do anything risky that could result in a fire, especially when the country is still in the El Nino phenomenon which is prone to forest fires. 'The uncertainty persists as it is the Southwest Monsoon now which is in El Nino and we will experience another long dry and hot weather. Therefore, the community should play a role and if there is a fire for gardening purposes, make sure it is under control and put out properly,' he said. In addition, he also advises people who do fishing or hunting activities to put out cigarette butts or campfires properly to ensure there are no embers because dry materials such as grass and leaves can easily catch fire. He said that from January until now, a total of 712 open burning cases were recorded in the state involving 42 forest fires, rubbish (28), gardens/fields (seven) and the bush fires recorded the highest number at 635 cases. Source: BERNAMA News Agency