Drones to be used in fire-prone areas

An aerial view of the Tudan Watchtower.

MIRI: The relevant authorities here have been told to step up their efforts to curb open burning in view of the approaching dry season. 

Transport Minister and minister-in-charge of Miri Division Disaster Management Committee (MDDMC), Datuk Lee Kim Shin made the call on Sunday after visiting the Tudan Watchtower here.

He said the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) and the Department of Environment (DOE) would be using drones to carry out surveillance works in fire-prone areas of Kuala Baram, Tudan and Permyjaya in this district.

Lee, who is also Senadin assemblyman, said that recently, he received reports of small fires in the Kuala Baram areas.

“These fires were caused by some open burning of the land by certain farmers for agriculture activities,” he said.

As there would be dry spells in the coming months, he is concerned that open burning would cause peat fires and haze.

Lee wanted immediate preventive measures to be done to tackle fire issues.

“I want relevant agencies to immediately start their preparations to deal with open burning, especially in Kuala Baram, Tudan and Permyjaya which cover a large part of peat areas in Miri,” he said.

He also revealed that from Sunday, the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) would be stationed at the Tudan Watchtower to monitor any suspicious open burning and peat fires.

Later in the afternoon, Lee was scheduled to chair a Miri Divisional Disaster Management Committee meeting to work out the surveillance, preventive and enforcement strategies to prevent any peat and bush fires at fire prone areas.

Among those present at the Tudan Watchtower briefing were Acting Resident of Miri, Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf; Zone 6 chief Miri Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Supt Law Poh Kiong and officers from NREB and Miri City Council.

Lee (centre, holding a drone) with other officers after visiting Tudan watchtower on Sunday morning.