KUCHING: Aerial water bombing operation to douse forest fires in Sri Aman is scheduled to resume this weekend.

State Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director Khirudin Drahman said the mission was initially scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed, due to limited visibility and other obstacles such as lack of water resources.

He disclosed that the operation team had conducted area reconnaissance and identified Sungai Lingga as its new water source (for the amphibious water bomber to scoop up water and drop it on wildfires).

“We decided to get the water from Sungai Lingga because the initial water source, Batang Lupar River is receding (low tide) and for it to return to its original level, it may take awhile.

“We have also sought assistance from the MarinePolice to help regulate water traffic during the operation and also to ensure that no fishing activities are conducted by local fishermen then,” he told reporters after officiating at ‘Kenyalang Mapping Technologies (KMTECH 2019): Ground Search and Rescue (SAR)’ at a hotel here yesterday.

He disclosed that the Bombardier CL-415 aircraft owned by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) was at the Air Force base here undergoing routine maintenance.

Khirudin said the operation team would go all out to extinguish the forest fires in Sri Aman this weekend.

He added that officers from the state headquarters and personnel from Sarikei, Bintangor and Kanowit have been deployed to assist in the operation.

“We are working hard to ensure that the fires in Sri Aman are completely extinguished soonest as we cannot tolerate the current heavy smog.”

He advised the general public to refrain from open burning activities that could worsen the current condition.