Forest fires continue to rage in Belait

National 1 minute, 27 seconds

BELAIT

THE Fire and Rescue Department in Belait established an Incident Command Post (ICP) yesterday morning, as joint efforts to combat ongoing forest and peatfires in the district continued.

The entire stretch of highway on the Seria-Mumong bypass was closed from 8.30am to 4pm, from the Seria turnoff to the Mumong turnoff, to avoid visibility risks on the road and allow firefighters to operate unhindered.

The ICP, established along that stretch of road near the DST Tower, now serves as the coordinating point for the operation, which is now expected to last weeks in current weather conditions.

From 8am, officers were already briefed at the ICP before heading out to the nine separate hotspots around the district.

Containment efforts focused on the biggest hotspot off the Panaga National Housing Scheme, while the Sg Liang Fire Station and its 14 firefighters were dedicated to Km30 along the Seria-Lumut highway. There, firefighters worked to prevent sporadic fires that puts the nearby Lumut National Housing Scheme at risk.

“We don't have a water source at this location, so we have had to rely on fire trucks and tankers bringing us water from the nearby housing areas,” said Sg Liang Station Commander Muhamad Ali Hassan, explaining the complexity of the situation.

In total, the joint effort under the District Disaster Management Centre (DDMC) has mobilised nine pumpers from the Fire and Rescue Department, two pumpers from BSP fire and Emergency Services, five water tankers from the Public Works Department (PWD) and two excavators and bulldozers from private companies.

Fire and Rescue Commanding Officer of Belait District Branch B, Muhd Shahreeni Hj Mohd Yussof, said that so far, air efforts using helicopters were not yet used but that today, the operation would consider that option.

The Brunei Times