KUCHING: Scattered rainfalls which fell in the capital and other divisions brought temporary relief from the haze. However, according to the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings made available at the Department of Environment website, the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri remained at ‘hazardous’ level at 364, Kuala Baram (271) and Sri Aman (253). Apparently, the air over Miri had reached the ‘unhealthy’ mark at 131 points while the air quality in other stations remained at moderate levels, to wit, Limbang (62), Samalaju (73), Bintulu (71), Mukah (63), Kapit (60), Sibu (64), Sarikei (64), Samarahan (72), Kuching (74) as at 4pm.
State Fire and Rescue Department assistant operations director Tiong Ling Hii said that the department recorded 416 cases of forest and peatland fires since Aug 1, with 1,125 hectares affected as at 4.30pm yesterday. This is an average of 30 cases to be dealt with on a daily basis by firefighters. The highest number of cases received on any single day was on Monday with 65 cases reported. The API is categorised as ‘good’ from 0 to 50, ‘moderate’ (51 to 100), ‘unhealthy’ (101 to 200), ‘very unhealthy’ (201 to 300), and ‘hazardous’ (301 and above).
Tiong said two houses were damaged by wild fires thus far – one totally destroyed in Kampung Sedi, Pulau Bruit, and another, partially damaged in Kampung Sangki, Simunjan. Tiong pointed out that bushfires recorded throughout the state as at 4.30pm yesterday were: Kuching (4), Samarahan (1), Sri Aman (2), Betong (2), Sarikei (1) and Miri (3). “Operation continues for the 14th day at Hamidah Welfare Complex, Kuala Baram, while in Kampung Sedi, Pulau Bruit and Tanjung Manis operation enters its eighth day. He said efforts to fight fire in Taman Harmoni, Sri Aman entered its sixth day with 20 acres destroyed by fire thus far. Jalan Marudi-Miri fire fighting also entered its sixth day with 10 acres gutted by fire.