Latest Seria forest fire believed to be man made

National 1 minute, 43 seconds

BELAIT

THERE is no respite for the forest fires near the Seria bypass after a new blaze broke out a few hundred metres inland on Thursday evening and has yet to come under control as of yesterday afternoon.

The blaze, located opposite the traffic light junction leading to the bypass into Seria town, was first spotted 400 metres inland on Thursday.

By Friday afternoon, winds had fanned it closer to the roadside.

Seria's Acting Station Commander of Fire and Rescue Muhd Ali Hassan yesterday issued a stern warning for individuals who were responsible for the fires, and informed that the relevant authorities are now conducting patrols around the area to deter burning.

“The land is peat, but the fires do not just break out by themselves under these conditions. This was caused by human action,” said Muhd Ali.

He speculated that small fires were started for personal use by those fishing from borrow pits or small lakes in the forest, who fail to “clean up after themselves”.

“If you fish here and start a fire, you have to make sure it's completely out before leaving. At the same time, if you are smoking, don't simply throw the buds anywhere,” said Muhd Ali.

Putting out the forest fires is “especially tough”, said the acting station commander.

This is because of windy conditions, absence of access roads and the flammable composition of peat.

“Putting out peat fires require a concerted flooding effort called total flooding, which nneds a lot of water so that the roots of trees and vegetation are soaked. This is the best way of preventing the fire from reoccurring in the same place in the immediate future,” he said.

Meanwhile the forest fires near the Badas pipeline, also in Seria, have been successfully brought under control in the past few days, with smoke levels from the area reduced by up to 40 per cent as of yesterday afternoon.

The spate of forest fires first began in Seria two weeks ago along the 18km point of the bypass, with human action being blamed.

The Brunei Times