Forest fire management programme: Initiatives to tackle forest, bush fires

Sarawak Bomba Director PKPjB Khirudin Drahman@Hussaini. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The State Fire and Rescue Department has put in place initiatives to deal with forest and bush fires which are common occurrences especially during dry weather in Sarawak.

Its director Khirudin Drahman said controlling forest and bush fires is a challenging task as heavy equipment has to be carried on foot to the locations that are inaccessible by fire engines.

He said the lack of water sources in forest and bush areas also posed difficulties to firefighters when extinguishing the blaze in such locations.

“The department has conducted a forest fire management programme in preparation for dealing with the situation.

“The programme involves various agencies such as the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), the Department of Environment (DoE), the Forest Department and the Malaysian Meteorological Department,” he said.

He said the training covered fire control, surveys using drones and satellites as well as sharing data on hotspots for forest and bush fires.

“The move ensures that we are one step ahead when a forest fire occurs and we can act immediately to control the blaze.

“The forest fire management programme implemented with these agencies means that we have made advance preparations without having to wait for fire to occur before we act,” he said in an interview with Suara Sarawak recently.

Khirudin added that the department had also conducted advocacy and education programmes for the public either during field visits or through social media.

He explained that burning lands to open up new plantation areas typically carried out by small farmers or plantation companies must comply with the guidelines issued by Bomba.

“For companies that open up new plantation areas, they should refer to the responsible agencies such as NREB and DoE.”

He said the parties involved should also provide machinery, equipment as well as provide water tanks and build water dams in preparation for unwanted situations.