Seria bypass ablaze

National 1 minute, 5 seconds

BELAIT

FIREFIGHTERS toiled along the Seria bypass almost the entire day yesterday, attempting to put out what is considered the first major bushfire to affect the district since the dry spell in April and May this year.

A spokesperson from the Fire and Rescue Department said that two fire engines and a water tank, bringing 13 firefighters from the Seria Fire Station and five from the Kuala Belait Fire Station, arrived at the scene at 11am yesterday after noticing the smoke during regular monitoring. They were supported by a fire engine and five firefighters from the Brunei Shell Petroleum Fire and Emergency Response Services.

Thick white smoke could be observed from as early as 10.30am, obscuring vision along a small stretch of road towards the Lorong 3 housing area.

The joint operation continued non-stop till 6pm to contain the fire. According to the Fire and Rescue Department, the operation is set to continue today and was likely to be prolonged due to the nature of peatfire, which burns underground and is resistant to water-dousing. The last two days have been extremely hot and dry in Belait, providing conditions for causing lengthy peatfires.

In the past, the fires had been blamed on careless road users tossing out lit cigarette butts and failing to put out small fires.

The Brunei Times